Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The legend of Don Hobbs.

Well, there's nothing like pulling up your Google news feed for the latest headlines and seeing your former blogging partner being called "a legend among Sherlock Holmes devotees."

Of course, that was in The Dallas News, Don Hobbs's local paper. As the AP wire story made its way across the country, from Denver to Stamford, the headlines demoted him to "Texas man," but the lead paragraph kept him "a legend of the world of Sherlockians."

Now, it's entirely possible that you're thinking, "I am an enthusiastic fan of Sherlock Holmes, and I have never heard of this Don Hobbs. I question this legendary status hyped by the lamestream media."

Well, I'm still working on my campfire song about the legend of Don Hobbs, which is what any Texas legend really needs, but in the meantime, here's what the newspapers won't tell you:

Hobbs is one of the spiritual progeny of John Bennett Shaw and Ron DeWaal, spawned of a time when we still thought that everything having to do with Sherlock Holmes could be collected, cataloged, and archived. It was a bit of a naive thought, but all great crusades start with a little naivety . . . if we truly saw the immense scope of any truly great undertaking, no sane man or woman would even begin such a thing. But Don has a goodly stripe of that thing that John Shaw had, that sets such Sherlockians above the standard obsessive-compulsive hunter-gatherer-hoarder: good company in a car, a bar, or airport, and a handy knowledge of a place to get a good meal. Handy at getting people inspired to do things, and full of stories, with good reason to be full of stories. Not the Dos Equis "most interesting man in the world," but surely one of his cousins.

He led an expedition to a place called "Sherlock" where no one had ever been. He created a club based around a clock. He's done a thing or two in small press publishing that won't be spoken of. He's dined with Sherlock Holmes fans in more cities than almost anyone, though those numbers are very hard to track. (My money is still on Don, though.)

Sherlockians as a breed tend to be fascinating and diverse folk, so I'm not saying the legend of Don Hobb places him on a lofty perch above the rest of us . . . naw, he's just a good example of his species. But when an AP wire story spends all its time talking about his foreign language collection and his recent drinking of the BSI Kool-Aid, I know for a fact that somebody didn't get the whole story.

And that story is the legend of Don Hobbs. One of these days the campfire song that goes with it will be done, too.

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