Just in case you haven’t heard, BBC One is offering a Sherlock mini-epsiode on Christmas Day! Mini-episodes: a GREAT idea borrowed from Dr. Who. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Sue Vertue, and the rest of Team Sherlock!
Sherlock: Oh, thank goodness he doesn’t have that 1970’s mourn-stache crawling on his upper lip! I wonder if he’s figured out I’ve been drugging his coffee to make him think I’m dead?
The mini-episode is entitled “Many Happy Returns” (yes, there will be) and is a prequel to the official BBC Sherlock Series 3 launch on 1 January, 2014. According to the synopsis, it’s been two years since John saw Sherlock die (well, yes it has), but “someone isn’t quite convinced that’s he’s dead.”
I am assuming that, like the Dr. who specials and mini-episodes, the Sherlock Series 3 mini-episode will be posted on YouTube and/or available through iTunes the following day. (Of ocurse, it will be on YouTube, but I mean officially released.) Something else to look forward to on Boxing Day.
I am trapped in the Black Hole of projects but will escape the vortex by next week if I have to start drinking Cuban coffee while nibbling dark chocolate(a precursor to “energy drinks” and much tastier). So fresh fodder will be coming. Honest.
I hearse you were coming back. Why do I think this promo idea was dreamed up by Mark Gatiss?
I’ll refrain from doing a Sherlock-like gloat… Okay, I can’t help it. I was right. I correctly deduced that Sherlock Series 3 would air 1 January, 2014 in the U.K., giving Moffat and Gatiss the double Holiday punch of a Dr. Who Christmas and a Sherlock New Year’s. There’s a very nice piece, with photos, on the Guardian site here.
My sentiments exactly, Sherlock, over the change in plans. Now where can I find an otter who looks like he’s sucking lemons for my desktop?
I am, however, only mildly consoled in my grief that my U.K. Holiday Invasion was canceled due to circumstances beyond my control (although, if I wasn’t already committed to classes starting the following week, I’d seriously consider doing damage to a credit card and fulfilling several items on my “bucket list” in one fell swoop to the London). Meanwhile, I am questioning the psychological affect of the delay in Sherlock Series 3. I find myself unreasonably cheered and excited by a new blog post appearing on the official John Watson blog site. I’ll refrain from commenting on the comments, since I don’t want to have to deal with any spoiler alerts (there are people in developed countries who don’t know who Mary is, seriously?), however, the blog post ties in nicely with the social media teaser video (below) and the hearse promotion.
No, Thank You, Ms. Adler. I’m Already Tied Up.
As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been a tad busy lately — and I fear it’s going to continue at least until the end of the year. I am, however, hoping to move Sherlock Cares to a new hosting service and definitely a new theme. The old one is no longer supported by the developer and I’d rather build my own theme than wrestle with any more 3rd Party issues. For one thing, I plan to do some simplification and speed optimization (I’ve been taking a few classes online to hone the brain and update the coding repertoire). I’m also wrestling with the fact that Google appears to be under the influence of Moriarty’s Minions (or possibly is being blackmailed by Charles Augustus Milverton) and is making RSS news feeds, particularly on specific subjects like Sherlock Holmes, problematic. I’m toying with the idea of writing a program to parse a Google news results pageview and then feeding it into my site, but I’m not certain I wouldn’t rather spend the time writing some new fanfic (and non-fan fic).
I’ve also been re-reading the Canon (inspired by the visit to The International Sherlock Holmes exhibit presently at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) as well as quite a few spin-offs and pastiches. I hope to get some book reviews and recommendations posted soon with some suggestions for Holiday Gift Giving to share Sherlock Holmes with the world.
Oh, look, Sherlock! We made the Nice AND the Naughty List this year.
I’ll be re-posting the Sherlock Gift Tags PDF from last Holiday Season and coming up with a few Holiday gifts as we work our way towards the Big Day.
Here’s wishing everyone in the U.S. had a Happy Thanksgiving and a lovely Holiday Season of Sherlock Holmes.
Unlike Sherlock, I haven’t been hiding underground from assassins, however, I have been a bit busy. Over the past week, though, work has been interspersed with more enjoyable activities.
While I try to keep this site strictly for Sherlock Holmes, first let me encourage you to catch the National Theatre Live’s 50 Years On Stage presentation,celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Theatre, while you can. I’m planning to catch a second showing at my area theatre. The outstanding performances are too numerous to mention, but you really don’t want to miss Andrew Scott in an excerpt from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angeles in America. It’s a heartbreaking scene and the range of emotions he conveys with his expression at the end of the scene is a true tour du force. And I have to thank Benedict Cumberbatch for making Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead both accessible and enjoyable. I’d seen two different stagings of the work, both of which left me unmoved and questioning the universal praise for Tom Stoppard. I now not only understand the work, I intend to read it soon. Mr. Cumberbatch had the audience both laughing and aching with the pain of the character and the existential questions of life, death, and eternity. And for Cabin Pressure fans (i.e., all of us), Roger Allam does an amazing monologue from the play Copenhagen, playing the same character (the physicist Heisenberg) Benedict Cumberbatch played in the BBC radio version of the play. (These are the moments when you realize just how incestuous — and talented — the British acting community is. But really, when you have this much talent of this caliber, how can you not enjoy them as much as possible.)
I’ve been traveling a minimum of 90-miles round trip to catch the National Theatre Live performances whenever I can for a few years now, and they have all been worth the time, the effort, and the money. Some of you, I’m certain, caught the Frankenstein presentation where Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller alternated roles. Given the derivative collection of films at your multiplex for a minimum £6, you’d get much more enjoyment for you money (not to mention actually enhancing your neurons) by spending £12, to catch the National Theatre Live broadcasts. In January you can see Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Not one of Shakespeare’s most famous or more popular works, in part I think, because it deals with a more difficult and complex question about the responsibilities of public figures.
And speaking of public figures…
While attending OryCon in Portland, Oregon (8-10 November, 2013) to help promote Loncon 3 (the 72nd World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in London; your are going, aren’t you? I mean Eurocon is the following weekend in Dublin and Loncon is in… well, London!) and Sherlock: The Game Is On project (which is just BRilliant!), I saw the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a wonderful excursion for fans of Sherlock Holmes — and their families and friends! The first part of the exhibit has things to fascinate fans of the Canon, including a portion of the Doyle’s original manuscript for The Hound of the Baskervilles in Doyle’s own hand and with his edits and revisions. There’s also the official portrait of Dr. Joseph Bell that makes it clear that the physical description of Holmes is clearly based on Dr. Bell while additional information about Dr. Bell and his work highlight that Sherlock’s core methodology is also based on Doyle’s teacher and mentor. There’s a film clip of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that makes it clear that the traditional representation of Dr. Watson, in the likes of Nigel Bruce, David Burke, Edward Hardwicke, and so on, is taken from ACD himself. And historical mystery buffs, along with Steampunk fans, will find the collection of medical implements and specimens fascinating.
This continues into the second section of the exhibit which is an interactive presentation of the “tools of the trade” in Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian London. While I’m pretty well versed in most things Victorian, including the use of quite a number of poisons in cosmetics and toiletries, I thoroughly enjoyed trying all of the hands-on exhibits. The ballistics trajectory experiment (although using a laser light might be a bit of a 2oth Century cheat) was surprisingly challenging and I learned that taking rubbings, with the correct tools of the craft, is not as easy as it looks.
In the third part of the exhibit you attempt to find various items “hidden” amongst the clutter of 221B Baker Street. Here it helps to be familiar with the stories in Canon because the items are from the stories. I was bustling along until I hit the “wax bust with bullet hole.” I did a Homer Simpson “Duh!” when I realized the clue was referring to the bust of Sherlock Holmes from “The Empty House” and that I’d been staring at it for 10 minutes! For historical fans and Sherlockians, these tableaus were a delight, but the younger kids in attendance were eager to move on.
The interactive fun really hit its stride in the fourth part of the exhibit where we are invited to actually solve a crime. While the kids were having a good time, the adults were reverting to childish glee! Basically, you must determine whether or not the police have arrested the right person. You make deductions based on experiments you do at various stations such as determining trajectories, type of impact, marks in the sand, even chemical analysis. You even get to test blood spatters at a slaughterhouse, which is not as gruesome as it sounds, although I suspect the faux meat carcasses hanging about gave the Portlandia vegans a bit of discomfort. One little boy could not be pried from the footprint test “devised by Sherlock Holmes,” so he became an unofficial staff member repeatedly racking the sand and then operating the device for anyone needing to use that station. When I left the area, he was attempting to sketch the construction of the device and I suspect there is now a backyard in Portland with a sand pit and a wheel that makes various boot prints when turned.
The last part of the exhibition is the history of Sherlock Holmes on stage, film, and other media. There’s a great deal of memorabilia from the Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes films and from the television show Elementary, including some of the costumes and scripts. There’s a small collection from the BBC Sherlock, including the explosive vest John Watson wore at the pool, and a lovely quote from Mark Gatiss. The exhibit rounds off with some additional interactive stations on modern forensics and detection before spilling you out into the inevitable gift shop. Alas, there were no t-shirts in my size remaining (which begs the question of what they are going to do in December) so I came away with a silly green-screened photo of myself in a deerstalker superimposed upon a background of the Parliament buildings and Big Ben, a mug (like I really need another one), a pen (ditto), and a bag of Victorian candies. I was rather disappointed that there was a catalog of the exhibit with more historical information, but I suspect in this digital age, I’m one of the last to collect such things.
I have no idea what the travel plans are for the exhibit, but if you get the chance, I recommend it. It’s loads of fun and delightfully engaging. Although, I suspect for those of a nerdy or geeky mindset, you may run the risk of going home with the intention of developing your own hands-on forensics experiments. (My cats are presently tolerating my experiments in animal and footprints in various types of soils and conditions.)
And last, but far from least, while I plan to have some more fannish things like fan fic, holiday fun, the on-going Sherlock Holmes news feeds, and a run-up to Sherlock Series 3, for some of the best of Sherlock fandom, check out Anne Zanoni’s blog Ariel’s Miscellany… a la Sherlock. Just be prepared to lose and hour or two. 🙂
[Warning: This is a story about Einstein, quantum physics, and John “Three Continents” Watson in action. There’s an expletive not deleted and reference to the physical response of male anatomy. Apologies in advance to any physicists reading this for the liberties taken with the science. Hey, don’t blame me. You guys named it entanglement.]
by J. H. Watson
A chilly autumn rain started again. Umbrellas popped up; a business man raised a newspaper above his head; a young man in a pea coat shook like a dog and said, “Fuck.” Sherlock Holmes huddled deeper into a door frame, watching the entrance to an alley down the street. He sipped the hot coffee he’d just purchased at the cafe on the corner. He frowned. He forgot the sugar.
John Watson glanced around the room as he took a sip of his coffee. He made a face, looked to his right and said to the woman beside him, “I’m sorry. Apparently, I just drank your coffee. I’ll buy you another.”
She looked up from her phone screen, smiled and asked, “Are you flirting with me?”
John thought the woman had a lovely smile. He returned it. “No. But I’d be happy to flirt with you if you’d like.”
“What made you say that’s not your coffee?”
“Someone’s put sugar in it.” He wrinkled his face remembering the cloying taste, looked around for its possible owner.
“Yes. You did.”
“I saw you.”
John set the cup firmly on the counter and stared at it. A small dark stain spread slowly towards him where the coffee slopped over on impact. Rings of coffee waves rippled from the center.
“Is everything all right?” the woman asked.
John studied the cup as he replied, “Yeah. It’s just I don’t drink sugar in my coffee. I never drink sugar in my coffee.”
The woman beamed another smile at him. “Ah. Spooky action at a distance.”
“What?” John thought, Oh, great. A nutter. A pretty nutter, but still…
“Einstein’s comment on quantum entanglement. Oh. Right. You aren’t with the conference.” John took the opportunity to glance down at the woman’s chest. It was a nice chest. Presently it was adorned with a name badge declaring her to be Dr. Chris Cooke attending the International Conference on Quantum Implications and Intelligent Systems Engineering. Dr. Cooke asked, “Do you know anyone who drinks coffee with sugar?”
“I… used to.”
John looked up sharply. “How did you know that?”
“That’s what you put into your coffee.”
For a moment John felt weak. Dr. Cooke said, “Are you alright? You look a bit pale.”
“I’m… I’m fine.” John shoved the disturbing images from his mind. He concentrated on Dr. Cooke’s smile. “I guess I was just… spooked. Like Einstein.”
Dr. Cooke’s smile widened. “Ooh, I like that. You could say Einstein was spooked by quantum theory. I don’t suppose I could steal that for my lectures…”
“Thank you… You know my name, but I don’t know yours.”
“Sorry. Dr. John Watson.”
“Please to meet you, Dr. Watson.” Dr. Cooke looked at John and smiled again.
John held her gaze, returned an even wider smile and replied, “John, please. So what’s quantum… What did you call it?”
“Quantum entanglement, right.”
“Well, you know how particles normally exist in their own state?”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
“Sometimes, two particles act on one another so that the pair can only be described as a single quantum state. We call that pair entangled.” As she spoke, Dr. Cooke’s eyes widened, and she leaned slightly forward.
John leaned in closer as she said, “When one particle spins right, the other spins left, even if they are millions of miles apart. The particles are always connected and they act on one another instantaneously, behaving as one. That’s why Einstein called it ‘spooky action at a distance.’” Their two heads were nearly touching now. John noticed the deeper blue-green flecks in her pale blue-grey eyes. Long dark lashes stroked creamy skin when she blinked. She continued in a sultry voice, “Einstein thought Quantum Mechanics flawed because the affect of one particle on the entangled partner appeared to be faster than the speed of light.”
“Fascinating. May I buy you a drink?”
“I don’t really think I need any more coffee. I’m stimulated enough.”
“There’s a very nice restaurant in this hotel and I’m sure it has a bar.”
“I suspect you’re right. There’s also a mini-bar in my room.”
John stood up and tossed some money on the counter as Dr. Cooke collected her bag. One of the bills landed in the spilled coffee, soaking it up, marking it.
Sherlock dropped the offending shopping bag on the sales counter. “Excuse me. You apparently gave me someone elses purchase.”
He glowered at the scrawny 26-year old sales clerk from Surrey who clearly had no medical need for those glasses nor the large quantity of alcohol, in unfortunate combinations, consumed the night before in a South London basement and on an East London rooftop, where she wound up cleaning the vomit off her shoes of someone male, judging by the aroma impregnating her sweater, who’d also consumed too much alcohol mixed with MMDA and West Indian soup made with an excess cumin. As she attempted to casually slip her phone under the counter, Sherlock observed she was looking for a new flat — and a new boyfriend.
The girl peered over her plastic frames at Sherlock for a moment before opening the bag and pulling out the sweater inside. “No. This is yours. It’s what you bought. I remember.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Do I look like someone who would wear…” Here words did not so much fail Sherlock as get censored by the filter of his former roommate. He waved an accusing and dismissive hand at the repugnant garment. “…That?”
The sweater was a deep red with black and white geometrics spreading from the neckline down to the shoulders and chest. Leather patches were stitched at the elbows on the sleeves. The yarn was a machine-washable blend. The sales clerk tilted her head and replied, “I thought you were trying to make an ironic statement.” Sherlock merely stared at her. She looked at the receipt and pushed it towards him. “Is that your signature?”
Sherlock glanced at the “Sigerson” scrawled in his writing. The strangled silence tightened between them as the sales clerk waited. “Yes,” he finally conceded.
“So I got it right and you’re returning it?”
“It was a sale item.”
Sherlock waited this time, an eyebrow raised in question, until the clerk flicked a strand of her dark hair off her face, sighed in resignation, and added, “So I can only give you an exchange or in-store credit.”
“Fine. Where are your dress shirts? Perhaps a dark purple. Aubergine.”
The sale clerk sneered. “So you are wanting something ironic?”
“I like your shirt. I like a man who’s well-dressed but not boring.” Dr. Cooke said as she handed John a glass of scotch from the mini-bar and settled beside him on the sofa. She opened her laptop and turned it on.
“Oh, uh, thanks.”
She slid the laptop where he could see it as well and shifted beside him. “It’s a very good color for you. What do you call it? Thistle or heliotrope?”
“I call it purple.” John could feel the heat where their thighs touched. He took a sip of his drink. “You know, I went in to buy a sweater. I don’t know how I ended up with this shirt.”
“More spooky action. Maybe you’d be interested in seeing my abstract for the conference.” Dr. Cooke looked at John over the rim of her glass and arched an eyebrow.
John smiled, leaned towards her and said, “I’d love to see your abstract.”
Sherlock awoke in the small hours of the morning from a disconcerting dream about a school exam he’d forgotten to prepare for involving calculations for momentum and thrust. Under the covers he had an erection.
Where the hell is that bloody cable installer? I’ve got to hook it up to the hard drive and test the video feed before John gets back.
YES! Houston, we have liftoff!
According to Entertainment Weekly (and other sources), the U.S. air date is 19 January, 2014 (we pause while the cheering dies down) and that means the UK air date will be sooner (BBC has the first rights to airing), so I’m sticking with my 1 January prediction, but can’t confirm.
More later. But the big question at my house, where we don’t have TV reception and use the internet for most telly viewing, is WHEN do we get cable TV, for how long, and do we break down and by a big, honking widescreen TV or figure out how to hook it up to the iMac?
I’m not dead, John. It was all a hoax. You were right. The hoax was a hoax.
John Watson felt a chill slither down his collar. He shivered, someone walking upon his grave. Heavy wet drops slid down his cheeks like the cool caress of dead fingers.
An explosion of thunder slapped John awake. The bench on which he sat shuddered. People in the park ran, fleeing for shelter from the storm. Behind John a muffled foomph, foomph, foomph sound, like the blades of an army helicopter starting, approached. Dazed and disoriented, John turned slowly to look.
A large black bird landed and stared at him.
Sherlock Holmes observed the bird study him from just inside the desolate shed. The bird eyed Sherlock warily but did not flee, cautiously sharing the space. The bird had obvious trust issues. Gently Sherlock tossed it a crumb. The bird pulled back, feathers ruffled. Slowly it hobbled towards the morsel, casting one last suspicious glance before hungrily feasting.
The rain beat rapidly on the shed roof. A drop fell on Sherlock’s face. He slid deeper into the shadows. The bird tilted it’s head, keeping one eye on the man and one on the rain.
Sherlock broke off another bit of sandwich and tossed it to the bird saying, “It won’t be much longer, John. The storm is already breaking. Soon we’ll be able to go home.”
You were only waiting for this moment to arise. — Lennon & McCartney
## End ##
For the Sherlock Seattle Convention, I created a mini-poster handout with this flash fiction on the back. The .png version of front and back is below. They’re designed to be printed 2-up on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.
The man across from him was French. Not Parisian, Sherlock knew that. Sherlock would not admit that he couldn’t deduce from where exactly, but was pleased he could deduce it was from someplace near another border; he thought not Switzerland, but perhaps Spain, Basque maybe. The man was of no value to Sherlock, simply a courier delivering an obscure item. The man sat across from Sherlock saying nothing as he waited for his food to arrive.
Sherlock reread a text on his phone as sipped his tea. He grimaced. Noticing, the Frenchman asked “Les mauvaises nouvelles?”
“Not bad news. Bad tea. La mauvaise thé.”
The frenchman grunted. Sherlock glanced back down at his phone. He yawned, then rubbed his eyes and his face with one hand. “Fatigué,” said the frenchman flatly.
“Yes, I’m tired,” Sherlock said. He stared at the phone. Sherlock started talking, an old compulsion to air his thoughts taking advantage of his weariness. The frenchman sat still, said nothing. He was a sounding board, as good as a skull, though not as good as a friend.
Sherlock said, “I’m tired of the waiting. I’m tired of all of this. I feel like Continue reading →
A lovely piece from the BBC about research done in the 1980’s by the Sherlock Holmes Society of London investigates the real-life source for the setting for The Gloria Scott, the only story that gives us any information about Sherlock Holmes obviously lonely youth and former best friend. The article has a nice sidebar summary of the connections between Sherlock Holmes and Norfolk. (I am now adding Norfolk to my British Invasion 2014 List. How I’ll manage to see everything on the list I don’t know. Win the lottery?)
Okay, I’m trying to be very good and not take the sign and create a new font based on Benedict Cumberbatch’s handwriting (hey, there’s a font designer who’s done several prominent artists including Cezanne and Michelangelo). (Yes, I’m letter-geeking on the super-extended downstrokes of the g, y & p).
For those who do want to see some shots of the actors on location (but without any spoilers), check out the gallery at Wales Online. (And it’s here I note that Benedict Cumberbatch’s dressing gown is almost exactly like mine and Mr. Martin Freeman is looking very thin (almost gaunt). Perhaps Mycroft has been sharing his dieting tips; although why Mr. Freeman would be dieting I have no idea. He does, however, look beautifully relaxed and as if he’s enjoying himself. )
Right. Back to work.