Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes Fawkesd

Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and the MoustacheI wasn’t exactly disappointed by The Empty Hearse: though I was disappointed that Mark Gatiss ducked out of actually providing the answer to how Holmes did survive. (It’s possible that Gatiss will provide the answer in episodes 2 or 3, but I’m not counting on it.) But I’m looking forward to The Sign of Three.

Moving on to the actual plot – (spoilers follow) Continue reading

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The Hobbit: Now You’re Tolkien

If you were Peter Jackson, would you want to stop making Lord of the Rings movies?

I expect not. Which is one reason why the first Hobbit movie took us only to the end of Chapter 6, and the second takes us only to the end of Chapter 13.

In the book – spoilers follow, should you not yet have read it – Continue reading


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House MD: Everybody Dies, Everybody Lies

I’ve watched episodes of Casualty and M*A*S*H and Nurse Jackie and even ER, but I’d never say I was a fan of medical dramas.

But I have just watched the final very last no there’s not going to be any more episodes of House MD – season 8, episode 22, “Everybody Dies” … and yes, I have now seen every single one of the 178 episodes, probably 134 hours total (in fact, probably more like 400 hours, since I own a boxed set from earlier in the run and the episodes are always repeating on Sky).

“I don’t feel he was my character; he’s not like me, or I’m not like him, but I do love him. I think it’s part of an actor’s responsibility to love the character you play, and I found him endlessly unpredictable and funny and self-loathing and unhappy. I was attracted to and moved by his unhappiness, and by unhappiness in general. Unhappiness is an unfinished state; happy people don’t need our help.” – Hugh Laurie on Greg House

House was a jerk. A “medical genius“, whatever that means, but a jerk. While TV Tropes has him down as bigoted, I’m fairly sure we never actually found out if House was bigoted or just enjoyed saying the most infuriating thing possible to all of the people he met.

Spoilers under the cut. Continue reading

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Trams? Trams? Look over there – a spaceship!

On Saturday 3rd March 2012 Edinburgh bus fares are going to go up. Again.

The bus fares change in 2012 will be the fourth rise since 2006, when a single bus fare went up to £1: In April 2008 to £1.10, then in January 2009 to £1.20, which was blamed on rising labour costs. In 2011, to £1.30, it was blamed on fuel costs: in 2012, a single fare will be £1.40 – and now it’s the withdrawal of the grant and the fall in passenger numbers due to the trams. Whatever the reason, that’s a rise of 175%40% (pre-coffee calculations) in 6 years.

Princes Street will still be covered in roadworks as they try, once more, to get the lines straight. The obstacle course that we scrambled through on Leith Walk was entirely pointless – they don’t now plan to build tramlines any further than St Andrews Square. The route will run in parallel with the trainline from Haymarket all the way to Edinburgh Airport, where it would have been entirely possible to build a halt, a connecting bridge, lifts, and a feeder road to the airport buildings with a fleet of accessible buses, in half the time and for a fraction of the cost.

On 3rd March 2007 the Scottish Government released £60M for Edinburgh Council’s big trams project. Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland, then the Transport Minister, said:

“Trams will give passengers a safe, environmental travel choice, a choice which will see reduced congestion and reduced emissions.

“The utilities agreement that has been put in place is the right approach. Allowing a single contractor to do all the work will minimise disruption in the Capital, save money and ensure the delivery of the project. That is welcome news for Edinburgh.”

Yes, it would have been, wouldn’t it? Continue reading


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The Search for #Sherlock

“It is with a heavy heart,” Doctor John Watson wrote in 1893, “that I take up my pen to write these the last words in which I shall ever record the singular gifts by which my friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes was distinguished.”

The rain outside the window. Eighteen months since John’s last appointment with his therapist. “You know why I’m here. I’m here because – ” He handwaves the end of the word off in a puff of unspeaking pain. “Sher – my best friend – Sherlock Holmes – is dead.”

Making Moriarty a convincing character is so difficult that Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t try.

“You have probably never heard of Professor Moriarty?” said he.
“Ay, there’s the genius and the wonder of the thing!” he cried. “The man pervades London, and no one has heard of him. That’s what puts him on a pinnacle in the records of crime.”

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Sherlock: Baskerville replayed regendered

I felt slightly cheated by tonight’s Sherlock.

The stick from which Holmes deduces Doctor Mortimer’s career and habits, makes a reappearance as a harpoon from which no deductions are drawn at all, but Sherlock’s swift conclusion about the early departure, the woman on the train and the disappointing breakfast, concluding with almost the same line as in August 1901:

“I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes. Have no hesitation in lighting one.”

were perfectly splendid. So was the sniffing. Kreetch texted me during this scene: And you think Sherlock has bad nicotine withdrawal *twitch*

The rapid-fire replay through The Hound of the Baskervilles was neatly redone from 110 years ago (- give or take – the original was serialised in the Strand in 1901-1902, but takes place in 1889, though Baker Street fans have long been mystified that Watson appears to be separated from his wife and living in Baker Street just as in bachelor days). Spoilers under cut.

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Sherlock: Irene Adler is THE woman

I finished watching the first episode of 2012’s Sherlock just after midnight, and attempted to analyse out my feelings about it for a couple of hours before giving up – I couldn’t do it, at least not beyond the Bohemia/Belgravia translation, without sleep, and also I needed to re-watch the whole episode, re-read the original 1891 story, and take a look at the previous 1984 transition to the screen.

The original story, first published in 1891, opens with a statement:

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. ….. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

In the TV adaptation from 1984 with Jeremy Brett, David Burke and Gayle Hunnicutt, the opening scene is a burglary – two men interrupted in the course of a burglary first by a man with a club, then by a woman with a gun. The men leave, scared off by the armed and ruthless woman: and Doctor Watson’s voiceover begins with “To Sherlock Holmes, she was always The Woman, the beautiful Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.”

spoilers below the cut-tag
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Sherlock: Translated from Bohemia

The short story “A Scandal in Bohemia” was the first to be published in the Strand magazine, in 1891. (Until I checked the date, I was convinced it must have been 1895, but the broken hit counter on John Watson’s blog must be from some other source.)

The parallels between the 19th-century story and the 21st-century TV episode are strong. The changes are significant.

The location. The use of “Bohemia” was a classic bit of wordplay. The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe – which became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 19th century, and is now mostly inside Czech Republic. But a Bohemian is also “a gypsy of society” 1848, from French bohemién (1550s), which was the name given in France in the 15th century to the Romany (they were wrongly believed to have come from there, though their first appearance in West Europe may have been directly from there) or from association with 15c. Bohemian heretics. This use was popularised by Henri Murger’s 1845 story collection Scenes de la Vie de Boheme the basis of Puccini’s La Bohème. First used in English 1848 in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair – “So our little wanderer [Becky Sharp] went about setting up her tent in various cities of Europe, as restless as Ulysses or Bampfylde Moore Carew. Her taste for disrespectability grew more and more remarkable. She became a perfect Bohemian ere long, herding with people whom it would make your hair stand on end to meet.”

The term ‘Bohemian’ has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gipsey, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits …. A Bohemian is simply an artist or littérateur who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art. [“Westminster Review,” 1862] Online Etymology Dictionary

What is Belgravia?

“Belgravia is a district of central London within the City of Westminster, located to the south-west of Buckingham Palace and its boundaries are Knightsbridge to the north, Grosvenor Place & Buckingham Palace Road to the east, Pimlico Road to the south, and Sloane Street to the west …the large houses, especially those in Belgravia & Eaton Squares, amongst the most expensive anywhere in the world, often costing more than £15 million.” CWHR

The use of Belgravia is a tipoff (if you know enough about London) to know that “The Woman” is immensely wealthy and deals directly with immensely wealthy and well-connected people. Beyond that there is no wordplay, no double-meaning, as there is between the kingdom of Bohemia and the Bohemian Irene Adler:

“Let me see!” said Holmes. “Hum! Born in New Jersey in the year 1858. Contralto–hum! La Scala, hum! Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw–yes! Retired from operatic stage–ha! Living in London–quite so! Your Majesty, as I understand, became entangled with this young person, wrote her some compromising letters, and is now desirous of getting those letters back.”

More of this later.

Sherlock: Irene Adler is THE woman


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