Wednesday, November 15, 2017
A personal 221B across time.
The most recent Baker Street Babes podcast is a thought-provoking thing. They're speaking to Chuck Kovacic, a California Sherlockian long known for his penchant for 221B Baker Street and the particulars of re-creating it.
I've known a few Sherlockians who went for that greatest of home improvements, including one that famously appeared in my own modest town of 15,000 about the time of first book's launch, which seemed outright sorcery. Attempting to create a 221B sitting room in your own home was probably more prevalent in the 1980s and early 1990s, when antique malls were booming, eBay wasn't cherry-picking the good stuff, and you could go Victorian on a budget.
You can surely do such a thing today, probably more easier with enough cash, the internet being so handy at finding things and all, but one can definitely look at 221B-creation as a hobby with different eras to it. One day, doing that thing will probably depend more on new imitation Victoriana than original antiques, at which point we'll hit yet another era for the specialist in Sherlockian sitting rooms.
But listening to Chuck and the babes made me wonder about something I don't remember any of the 221B re-creators specializing in, and that was about eras as well.
Because when you think of 221B Baker Street, when do you think of it?
In the mid-1880s, before John married for the first time?
During the hiatus, when Mrs. Hudson and Mycroft were preserving it, waiting for Sherlock's return?
Or at the end of its time, just before Sherlock packed it all up and moved to Sussex?
In collecting antiquities for such a room, does a truly detail-oriented Sherlockian pick a date and then furnish their 221B with only materials available up to that year, month, and day?
The latest newspapers on Jack the Ripper could give the room a theme of Holmes during that period.
A few charred relics might show it was after Moriarty tried to burn it down in "The Final Problem."
A souvenir or two of Watson's wedding could place it exactly post-departure for John.
Scenes from exact moments in a given story could be re-created, like the famous hat scene from "Blue Carbuncle."
Having a 221B room suddenly seems like a never-ending project, as you're suddenly not just imitating a place in a single moment, but a place that evolved over the course of two decades.
Watson's title for his little list in A Study in Scarlet ("Sherlock Holmes -- his limits") becomes especially ironic when you add in the Sherlockian dimension, as it seems that Sherlock Holmes and the celebration of that great detective has very few limits indeed.
Which makes it a very grand hobby to be a part of.