Knitter. Librarian. Mom. Web Monkey.


Weekly Forum: Collector’s Corner

The Dealer Room at 221B Con was exceptional this year, and I came home with quite a few fun items. One was this Detective Mickey Mouse figurine:


It is not just a figurine. Oh, no. It is, in fact, a bobble-head! As soon as I discovered this, I knew it had to be mine, and it had to come home to live on my bookcase:


For this week’s Forum, please share an interesting item from your own collection. What is it, where did it come from, and why did it appeal to you?

Start the Presses!

The Spring 2016 issue of The Watsonian and the newest edition of the Fiction Series, “The Adventure of the Doctor and the Duellist” (written by Elinor Gray, JHWS “Misty” and illustrated by Basil Chap, JHWS “Bee”), are headed to press. The print run for each is limited, so if you would like a copy of either or both for your shelves, the time to order is now!

The Watsonian - Spring 2016 "The Adventure of the Doctor and the Duellist" by Elinor Gray and Basil Chap

Members of the John H Watson Society as of Sunday, 3 April, will receive a copy of each as part of the membership dues, so there is no need to place a separate order (unless you would like a second copy, of course). If you are not currently a member, now is an excellent time to join!

Non-members wishing to order print editions must do so by Sunday, 3 April to ensure availability. After that date, electronic (PDF) copies will still be available for purchase, but there may not be extra print copies.

The newest volume of the Monograph Series, “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Blank Page”, by Leah Guinn, JHWS “Amber”, is also headed to press. This book is not included with Society membership, and the print run will be limited, so anyone wishing to order a print copy must do so by Sunday, 3 April. As with the other titles, the electronic (PDF) version will remain available for purchase after that date.

“I will introduce you” [PRIO]

Study in Scarlet illustration by George Hutchinson

(Part of this entry will also appear in the Spring 2016 issue of The Watsonian)

As our “Carla” posted last week, I am taking on the role of “Boy-in-Buttons” for the John H Watson Society.

Typing that sentence still leaves me a bit awestruck, in the fullest sense of the word. To say that I was surprised when my name was suggested would be an understatement. I had long been content to remain in the background, keeping our digital home on the web tidy and functional.

I still see myself as a new arrival among you, having found my way to Baker Street late compared to many, and somewhat sideways at that. I must confess a twinge of jealousy toward those who can tell of falling in love with the Canon at the age of 10 or 11. Somehow I missed meeting Holmes and Watson at that tender age. But, as they say, when the student is ready, the Master appears.

In my case, he appeared as Benedict Cumberbatch, accompanied by the ever-amazing Martin Freeman. I watched the first six episodes of the BBC series (all that existed at the time), which proved enough merely to whet my appetite for all things Holmesian. I picked up a two-volume paperback edition of the complete stories at my favorite used bookshop and started exploring the many and varied opportunities to connect with other fans.

That was how I found my way to the John H Watson Society site, and it quickly became one of my favorite places online. The weekly quizzes were challenging and the weekly discussions were interesting, but it was the blend of people that made the magic.

The roster of members included people who had been in the Sherlockian world for decades, who published scholarly articles and books, and who led scion societies. It also included people who were newcomers (like me), who created transformative works of fanart and fanfic, and who were active on twitter and tumblr. There were people who fell into any and every possible combination of those categories. Somewhere in this glorious mingling of old and new, traditional and ultramodern, I found a place that felt like home.

These years later, it still does. The quizzes are still challenging, the forum discussions are still engaging, and the Treasure Hunt is still fiendishly difficult (and I mean that in the very best possible way). Most importantly, the people are still an amazing community of individuals with different backgrounds and worldviews who can come together to discuss the life and times of that eminent gentleman, Dr John H Watson. Amongst his many fine qualities, he was the best friend one could ever wish to have.

I take to heart these words “About the Society“:

We are an open and inclusive Society, seeking the collegiality and conviviality of Members worldwide and at all stages of involvement in Watsonian, Sherlockian and Holmesian interests. Mostly, we are about having fun.

As I adopt the moniker of “Selena Buttons”, I am inspired by Don Libey, who was the kind of person I hope to be: friendly and welcoming and encouraging to all, no matter how you found your way here. I look forward to hearing from you!

This week, in lieu of a Canonical discussion topic, please introduce (or re-introduce) yourself in the Comments section.

Now Available: Coin of the Canonical Realm

We are very pleased to announce that the electronic (PDF) edition of the Society’s first monograph, “Coin of the Canonical Realm”, by Nicholas Utechin (JHWS “Rex”), is now available in the Shop. Simply select “PDF Download” in the “Format and Postage” options. You will receive the download link as soon as payment is completed.

If you encounter any problems with the shop (or anywhere else on the site), please let Selena know!

Announcing: Third Annual Treasure Hunt

“Come, Watson, come!…The game is afoot! Not a word! Into your clothes and come!” (Sherlock Holmes, ABBE)

Halloa!  Sherlockians, Holmesians and Watsonians—

You are invited to the Third Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt

The Third Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt will begin soon on August 1, 2015.  In keeping with JHWS tradition, the 2015 edition of the Treasure Hunt will be a difficult 100-question quiz designed to challenge your knowledge of Sherlock Holmes, Dr John Watson, and their greater world. Are you up to the challenge?

In 2014, one individual, and teams from the USA, Italy and France earned honors in the competition. These quiz masters have set a high bar for this year’s competition.

Individuals and teams (two to five members) are invited to compete. The competition is open from August 1 through September 1, 2015. A list of the rules for the competition can be found on the Treasure Hunt Rules page.

While most answers will be no more than two to ten words, the questions will not be simple. The Treasure Hunt will involve encryption, obscure references, geographic and biologic inferences, people, objects, dates, unique terminology, and all manner of canonical knowledge.  A list of recommended resources can be found on the Treasure Hunt Resources page.

The JHWS hopes participants will find the Treasure Hunt to be the definitive — and most enjoyable — canonical quiz. And there are awards! The first participant in each category to submit the most correct answers will receive a unique and distinctive award from the JHWS.

The JHWS asks you to tell other clubs, organizations, and individuals about the Third Annual John H. Watson Society World Canonical Treasure Hunt—a flyer to share about the competition can be found here.

The goal of the Treasure Hunt is to bring together Watsonians, Sherlockians, and Holmesians on a global, collegial basis to further the scholarship and enjoyment of our mutual interest in all things 1895.  Won’t you give it a go?

“We can but try-the motto of the firm.” (Sherlock Holmes, CREE)

Reviewing Mr. Holmes

I received this Movie Review from Darwin and he asked to share it with the Watsonians:
 I was lucky to get into a sneak preview of Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellan. Here are my thoughts on this movie.
I have been a Sherlockian since I was seven years old. I’ve read the stories innumerable times. I have seen all the major Sherlockian movies and TV programs many times over.  On the strength of these credentials I declare that Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellan, is hands down the greatest Sherlock Holmes movie ever made, bar none.
It shows a vulnerable Holmes struggling mightily against the approaching ravages of old age. It shows Holmes simultaneously in his weakness and strength. The movie draws you into its powerful grip from the opening scene of the railroad steaming its way across the edenic British countryside and grasps you relentlessly until the end.
 IanMcKellan is beyond marvelous as the ultimate avatar of Holmes. His words, his actions, the very tilt of his head, the subtle movements of his eyes speak volumes to the viewer. He is an actor’s actor and a cinematic jewel.
The supporting cast of Laura Linney, Milo Parker, and Hiroyuki Sanada all work together like the gears of the finest Swiss watch. Little Milo Parker is about the most adorable child actor I’ve ever encountered. I predict a brilliant movie career for him.
This movie is an instant classic and will tower and endure as long as folks love and admire Holmes.
 Bravo, Mr. Holmes! Bravo, indeed!
Al Gregory “Darwin”

A New Phonebook Moment!

A few days ago, some very special parcels started making their way to the mailboxes of JHWS members, and Greg Ruby, “Robin”, wrote from Maryland yesterday to say:

Hello all!

I am pleased to report that The Watsonian plus two other pamphlets arrived in today’s post.

The video in the attached link mimics my reaction at the mailbox –

Hope everyone has a great day.

Greg aka Robin

As that movie just happened to be a favourite of our dear Buttons, that clip is extremely apropos.

We on the West Coast tend to get everything a few days after folks out East, so I’m still eagerly waiting!

Coin of the Canonical Realm by Nicholas Utechin “Rex.”

Coin of the Canonical Realm by Nicholas Utechin
Published in December 2013.
58 pages, perfect bound.
Price: $9.00 USD
US Postage: $3.00 USD
International Postage: $5.00 USD

In this, the first monograph published by the John H Watson Society, Nicholas Utechin sets out to make 21st century sense of all the 19th century mentions of money in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Have you ever stopped to wonder exactly what a ‘half-sovereign’ would buy today? Find out what Mary Morstan stood to gain if the Agra treasure had not been hurled out of the Aurora. How much in dollars – then and now – would Neville St. Clair’s daily begging takings have amounted to? Could Sir Henry Baskerville’s $6 boots be bought for an equivalent sum in 2014?

Coin of the Canonical Realm is an important work whose validity might not survive all-engulfing world inflation, but currently provides the first ever detailed snapshot of the practicalities of Holmes’s financial world.

The Society is covering its printing and postage costs with $1.50 remaining to contribute to future publishing projects. Please support the Society’s efforts to further original research in Canonical topics. Payment may be made via PayPal or credit card.

About the author: NICHOLAS UTECHIN is a Director-at-Large of the John H. Watson Society (‘Rex’), a Baker Street Irregular (‘The Ancient British Barrow’) and an Honorary Member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London (having edited “The Sherlock Holmes Journal” from 1976-2006). He is a freelance journalist and worked for many years as a producer and presenter on BBC radio. He lives in Oxford, U.K.

221B Con

It is just one week until 221B Con, the “Fan Con for all things Sherlock Holmes” in Atlanta, Georgia. I’ll be attending for the first time, and I’ll be part of the panel for the session on ASH, BSI, and Other Sherlockian Organizations. That panel is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, 11 April, in Salon C. (NB: The schedule is subject to change.)

I’ll also have 150 of these:

Watsonian badge ribbons

Will you be there? Saturday the 11th is also the Society’s second birthday, so I propose a lunchtime Consultation immediately following the panel. Hope to see you there!

A Word from “Asta”

Andrea Stewart (“Asta”) left this as a comment on March 17th. I’m copying it here to share with all of you.

Dear, Dear Watsonian friends,
Thank you so much for all your warm and beautiful comments about our “Buttons”. He was an extraordinary man and he loved this society more than I could possibly tell you. The three days he was in the intensive care unit he always had me get out my notebook and take down my assignments regarding things going on with the Watson Society. I am going to do whatever I can, with a great deal of help from the membership, to assure a smooth transition and continuation of this most marvelous endeavor. If any of you travel down Florida way, please contact me. My love and thanks to you all.

Upon the Terrace

Dear Friends,

We are greatly saddened to advise you of the passing of our beloved “Buttons”, Donald Libey. Don was a wonderful friend and a great Sherlockian. We send our love and best wishes to Andrea.

We will notify our membership of the disposition of society business via this website in a few days. We ask that all provide their support and cooperation at this difficult time.

Condolences can be sent to Andrea via the comments section of this post.

Society News

“Buttons” is taking a brief hiatus from Society administrative duties for personal reasons. As ever, this site is the place to check for updates.

The production of the April issue of The Watsonian is ongoing. And don’t forget to check out our Forum page for this week’s discussion topic.

Best wishes to all.

“I shall communicate with you.” [NOBL]

The Society is always pleased to find new avenues of communication, and so is delighted to announce its entry into the world of social media. You can now find us on Facebook (hat tip to “Galahad”!) and on Twitter.

If you’ve reached this site for the first time from Facebook or Twitter, welcome! We’d love to have you join in our Weekly Forum, try puzzling out the answers to our weekly Quiz, check out our Publications, become a Member, or any combination of those. Make yourself comfortable, enjoy your stay, and come back soon!