Friday, March 30, 2012

From the Guardian. . .

How I taught Sherlock Holmes to play the violin

To portray Sherlock in the BBC's new series, Benedict Cumberbatch had to play the violin – but didn't know how. Violinist Eos Chater was hired to coach him
Fancy a tune? Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Photograph: Colin Hutton
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock plays the violin.Sherlock Holmes is in his ­living room, playing Bach. I study his movements, his bow-arm and his fingers. I am working as Benedict Cumberbatch's violin coach and they're filming scenes for series two of Sherlock. When I give a tip, ­Cumberbatch consumes it entirely. Information is his quarry; no wonder he's such a good Sherlock. I was sitting outside in the sun at AIR Lyndhurst studios in London when we first met: he strode up, motorbike gear on, helmet in hand. I lent him my spare violin and as he attached his leather belt to it and slung it over his shoulder, I realised that violins look much cooler when worn by bikers.
A lot of the first lesson is spent on stance and hand positions. He's quick, focused. By our ­second lesson, ­Cumberbatch makes a surprisingly good sound. 
By the third I am becoming familiar with his "locked on to target" eyes, and when it's best to stand back and leave him to work it out for himself. He handles the violin carefully: "How would you lift it to your chin?", "How would you play around with the bow?", "Which way would you put it down on a chair?". Everyone has gone home, except a cleaner, who comes in, bucket in hand and backs out apologising. Cumberbatch apologises to her for using the room for so long; he does so with such grace I am glad to be coaching him.
Eos Chater of Bond.Eos Chater of Bond. Photograph: Han Myung-Gu
In the scheme of things the violin isn't a big deal in Sherlock – but still I feel the responsibility of "violin department". Often, between scenes in filming, his only moments of rest, he asks for lessons. One time I'm teaching him on the side of the set, in the dark, dodging crew hefting lights around, with him dressed in a bed sheet. This is fine, I tell myself. Totally fine.
On set I need to see him; to play when he lifts his violin and stop when he stops. And he needs to see me; to copy my bowings, to ghost what I'm doing. In one scene I have to stand outside on two boxes on a scissor lift, watching him while he watches me out of the window. 
Finally, having avoided reading the script, I sat down to watch the first episode on Sunday: it felt great to have been a small part of it.
• To read a full, unabridged version of this article, go to Eos Chater's website:

Ok, this is my favorite. . .

Just for fun . . .

. . . . in a google image search, type in 'I believe in Sherlock Holmes.'

He seems to have a following.

Harpooners web site. . . .

. . . .is almost ready and back on line thanks to Ron and Claudia.
Check back in a couple days or so at

(That's where you will see more of Petey.)

Soon he'll have to wake up and get busy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Watson and Holmes together, it's Elementary. . .


Fun escapist reading. . .

If you want a book that you can not think to much about and enjoy a quick read in a good chair, you will probably like this one.
If you are looking for something more cerebral, you may want pick one I reviewed a week or so ago.
The Crack in the Lens is another 'Young Sherlock Holmes' without the Spielberg touches.
The book explores the life of a 17 year old Holmes, and, in it's own way, finds reasons for Sherlock's behavior as an adult, as well as helping to explain why he became a detective. It also tries  to explain Holmes hate for Moriarty.
We find Holmes and his two brothers growing up on a Yorkshire estate, in a household controlled by a domineering, inflexible and unimaginative father. His mother only floats around the edges of the book.
We find him close to his brothers, and well like by most within the story.
It is of course somewhat of a love story, hence the reference to Young Sherlock Holmes.
With the exception of part of the book near the end, the book moves well.
The author handles life on an estate well.
You will not spend a lot of time analyzing and discussing this book, but sometimes that's OK. My favorite thing about the book is that it makes Holmes out to be a Yorkshire man. I enjoyed it for what it was worth and I am looking forward to her other upcoming Holmes books.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A good read about/from Steve Moffat. . .

Steve Moffat


Sherlock: Bad News – New Series Not Filming Until 2013

We’ve got some bad news for Sherlock fans today – the third series of Sherlock will not begin filming until early 2013 at the earliest.
So, we have a very long wait to find out how the cliffhanger at the end of series 2 will be resolved.
Why the long wait?
Well, everyone involved with the show is busy. The showrunner Stephen Moffat is busy with Doctor Who (arguably a bigger and more important show for the BBC). Benedict Cumberbatch is busy filming The Hobbit and the Star Trek sequel. Martin Freeman is also busy with The Hobbit.
It could be more than a year before Sherlock graces our TV screens again.
It’s going to be a long wait!


The art of Sherlock Holmes, what a treat. . .

Any of you who know me, know I love animation, and especially the process of animation.
So it is quite a treat that I was given permission to reproduce some of the layout sketches from Tom and Jerry meet Sherlock Holmes.
Thank you Frederick Gardner !
And Warner Brothers for this new addition to the world of Sherlock Holmes.
I have reduced the size here for the blog. Clic on them for a little bit bigger view, but go to Frederick's blog (highlighted above) for full size views.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Could this be the new look of Watson. . .

I really enjoyed this book. . . .

The book examines the life of a retired Holmes, now 93 years old, with slight mental  diminishment and dealing with all that that means.
The book was very well written with a style that easily could have been Holmes' own hand.
And although it does handle three small mysteries, they are not the focus of the book. They are used more as a tool to explain things that are now going on in his life.
The book did run a little slow in a couple spots, and only on pages 198 and 199 did go unnecessarily astray.
For the most part, author did not fall into the often happens state of trying to shock the readers with revelations about Holmes that loyal readers would find offensive.
The conclusions are acceptable and Cullin seems very fond of the subject.
The book examines what it could have been like for Sherlock to be facing the last years of his life, very alone, with all the people he held dear gone.
 The author also handles the deaths of Mrs. Hudson and Watson with grace and dignity.
It really makes you hope Holmes found some happiness in the years between his retirement and the year this book takes place.

P.S. The movie about this book is the one that Ben Kingsley my star in.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trivia of the dayweekmonthyear for today. . .

What is the previous Sherlockian connection for the star,

Jonny Lee Miller,

 of the CBS upcoming American version of a modern Holmes, 'Elementary,'?

In Elementary, Holmes is a former consultant to Scotland Yard. Holmes is an addict and travels to New York City to attend a rehab center and stays on in Brooklyn with "sober companion" Joan Watson

Ah, Watson. . . .

Actress Lucy Liu to be first female sidekick for Sherlock Holmes:

Actress Lucy Liu to be first female sidekick for Sherlock Holmes - Reuters
An American reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic, Sherlock Holmes, is all set to feature actress Lucy Liu as the detective's famous sidekick, Dr Watson.
Britain's The Telegraph reported the 43-year-old Charlie's Angels star will become the first woman ever to play the character in Elementary - a modern take of Holmes' exploits set in present-day New York.
Actor John Lee Miller plays the title character opposite Liu.
American network CBS will launch the pilot soon. The show includes 'big-budget reworking' of original Sherlock Holmes plots and is also the fourth such recent rebirth of the London detective in popular culture.
The first two were movies starring Robert Downey Jr and then there was the BBC show starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Enjoy the Ambiance . . . and much more.

Just started watching Downton Abbey and am loving it.
The stories are fun and good, the acting splendid and the sets are the best part.

Oh, yea. There is a Sherlockian connection.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You're gonna steam what?

I have read several steampunk novels and have enjoyed most, and once again this is something different and may bring more people into the world of Sherlock Holmes.

And it looks like a lot of work went into it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Don't know if I ever put this out there. . . . .

John H Watson MD

Mark your Calendar . . .

  • Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 9pm ET
    A Scandal in Belgravia
    Picking up from season 1's gripping cliff-hanger, the whip-smart dominatrix Irene Adler (Lara Pulver, True Blood) takes on Sherlock in a game he is ill-prepared to
  • Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 9pm ET
    The Hounds of Baskerville
    Sherlock and Watson track a gigantic hound to Baskerville, where the military is conducting top-secret experiments. But whether demonic or dubious, something is stalking the moors...
  • Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 9pm ET
    The Reichenbach Fall
    Stealing the crown jewels is just a prelude for the unhinged criminal mastermind, Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott, Lennon Naked), when he poses the diabolical and inescapable "final problem" to Sherlock.
  • Sherlock, Season 1 Special Encore Presentation
    The game is (back) on! In a special encore presentation on January 15, 22 & 29, 2012 at 10pm, Masterpiece mystery! presents season 1 of Sherlock. Relive the clever banter and superhuman deductions. Watch full episodes online for a limited period starting the Monday after broadcast! 

'E' Cads! Messing with the Canon, who ever heard of such, . . oh, wait.

8 unconventional Sherlock Holmes adaptations

In CBS' Elementary, Dr. Watson will be played by Lucy Liu. Is the controversial gender-swap the strangest twist among the many retellings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales?
It's been 125 years since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced British super sleuth Sherlock Holmes to readers, and, since then, the classic character and his slower-on-the-uptake sidekick Dr. Watson have been reinterpreted in unconventional, inventive, and sometimes downright strange ways. The latest is a just-announced CBS pilot called Elementary, a potential fall 2012 series which will follow a modern day Holmes (played by Jonny Lee Miller) in New York City. Dr. Watson, controversially, will be played by female Asian-American star Lucy Liu. Here's a look at eight of the many efforts to tinker with the Holmes formula:
1. Elementary (2012)
Elementary will be set in present-day New York City. Its Holmes, just returned from rehab, is consulting for the NYPD and living with "sober companion" Watson. Jane Watson, that is, a former surgeon whose license was revoked after the death of a patient. The casting of Liu as Watson is enough to make you "slap your head in despair," says Stuart Heritage at the U.K.'s Guardian. The gender reversal will completely "cancel out the asexual ambiguity of Sherlock's character." How long before a romantic relationship blooms between the central characters, wonders Joe Cunningham at Indie Wire? "Maybe we'll finally see Holmes and Watson going at it."

2. Sherlock (2010)
Another modernization attempt, BBC's Sherlock, which airs on PBS in the U.S., has the duo solving crime in 21st century London. Like the literary character, Watson is injured from war service, only in this case, he sustained the injury in Afghanistan fighting in the post-9/11 invasion. That and other contemporary references (think smartphones) make "so much sense" and translate seamlessly, says Alyssa Rosenberg at The Atlantic, creating a series that is at once unmistakably Doylian and fittingly modern.
3. Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Game of Shadows (2011)
In Guy Ritchie's high-octane, special-effects-and-fight-scenes adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. plays "literature's greatest detective as a sort of self-loathing action hero," says Bill Goodykoontz at The Arizona Republic. He's a bare-knuckle boxer with six pack abs. And yet, because Downey has a blast in the "rock and roll" role, audiences do too. Not so fast, says Michael O'Sullivan at The Washington Post. "Ritchie and company try so hard to make sure this isn't your father's Sherlock Holmes that it comes across as, well, cartoonish."

4. House (2004)
Astute fans of Fox's medical drama House who notice similarities between Hugh Laurie's smarmy Dr. House, with his penchant for brilliant diagnoses, and Sherlock Holmes are right on the money. The show's creator, David Shore, has gone on record saying that Dr. House was directly inspired by Holmes. Both are experts in their fields brought in when cases prove too difficult for other investigators to solve, and are roommates with their right-hand men (in House's case, it's Dr. Wilson). The similarities extend so far that Dr. House's apartment number 221B is the same as Holmes'.
5. Sherlock: Case of Evil (2002)
In the 2002 made-for-TV movie Sherlock: Case of Evil, the titular detective — here, a womanizing, drug-addicted, self-involved 28-year-old — is far younger than in most other adaptations. And, as played by actor James D'Arcy, he "appears closer to 18," says Mystery File. Portraying "a sexy Sherlock Holmes" is certainly a risk, says Laura Fries at Variety. But by ditching the character's dowdy checkered hat and pipe, and revamping his stodgy reputation, this "slick and sophisticated" movie ultimately succeeds.
6. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1987)
Lucy Liu isn't the first Jane Watson to join Sherlock on his investigations. In the 1987 TV movie The Return of Sherlock Holmes, actress Margaret Colin played a different Jane, in this case the great-granddaughter of the famed Dr. Watson. When attempting to sell her ancestor's estate, she stumbles upon a hidden basement housing a cryogenic capsule with a man inside. After thawing the body, she discovers that the man is, in fact, Sherlock Holmes. Reanimated in the '80s, Holmes joins Watson on a few investigations. Considering the world didn't end when a woman assisted Holmes that time, says Sarah Anne Hughes at The Washington Post, perhaps we should reserve judgment on Liu.
7. Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
1985's Young Sherlock Holmes offers a meet-cute scenario for the legendary partners. A young John Watson is shipped off to boarding school, where he meets and befriends Sherlock Holmes, a bizarre and brilliant fellow student. The two begin investigating a series of local murders. "It's the origin story for the world's first consulting detective that Conan Doyle was never considerate enough to write for us," says MaryAnn Johnson at Flick Filosopher. Unfortunately, this "exquisite idea," says Common Sense, yielded a "mediocre result."

8. Without a Clue (1980)
In Without a Clue, Ben Kingsley plays Dr. Watson, who, in this case, is the brilliant one. Not wanting to draw attention to his own sleuthing skills, he hires an actor to play "Sherlock Holmes," the face of their crime-solving operation. Michael Caine plays the actor/Holmes, and "it's impossible not to derive some pleasure out of Caine and Kingsley's effortless chemistry," says David Nusair at Reel Film. Vincent Canby at The New York Times, on the other hand, calls the film "an appallingly witless sendup," arguing that the very premise of the flick "wouldn't support a five-minute revue" — much less a full-fledged movie.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Occupants of the Empty House Meeting Schedule for 2012

For several months I have provided updates on the monthly meetings of the Occupants of the Empty House, OEH.  As I have heard many times, the door is always open for friends of the Occupants.  For those of you that are interested, here is the meeting schedule for The Occupants of the Empty House for the remainder of 2012.

April 13            The Empty House/The Final Problem/Great Hiatus
May 4              The Norwood Builder
June 1             The Bruce-Partington Plans
July 6              The Veiled Lodger
August 3         The Sussex Vampire
September 7   The Missing Three-Quarter
October 5        The Abbey Grange
November 2    The Devil's Foot
December 7    The Dancing Men               

The door is always open!