Word over the wires is that “the first annual Sherlock Holmes week” is coming July 30 and running until August 5. And according to press releases that have been feeding this story, “millions of Sherlock Holmes fans worldwide” will take part, and “the week is backed by the main societies and organizations in the world.”
That sounds quite lovely. A bit too lovely, in fact.
Yes, we’re in a major surge of Sherlock popularity, but still . . . millions?
Find the most popular Sherlock fan activity you can – say, something simple like following the Twitter feed of the Baker Street Babes – and you will find about 6,000 fans. Look for attendance at even the most major Sherlockian event, and you’ll find a few hundred people. If anyone out there has seen 1,000 Sherlock Holmes fans in one place, they had better have photos to back it up. Holmes fans do not fill arenas.
Since Sherlock Holmes Week is “by the fans, for the fans,” it could, in theory, be enormous – if every fan jumped in and put on some part of it, if every main society and organization actually did put their hearts and souls into it. (Though what fans would be left to attend if all the fans were putting it on . . . well . . . .)
The most worrisome part of Sherlock Holmes Week is the reason it’s taking place July 30 to August 5. Those dates were chosen because it is when the Olympics are taking place in London. The OLYMPIC Olympics. In hopes that anyone coming to town for that major world event will take some time out to go to a Sherlock Holmes Week event or two. Yes, instead of tying it to Sherlock’s birthday, Watson’s birthday, the date A Study in Scarlet was published, Reichenbach day, or any other day of significance in Holmes’s existence, somebody decided, “Hey, let’s just make Sherlock Holmes compete with the summer Olympics!”
Well, here in Peoria, we’ve long known that part of being a Sherlockian is sometimes going along with some just plain batshit crazy ideas. So, what the heck? Check back here on July 30th and see what Peoria’s contribution to Sherlock Holmes Week will be. It’s not like we were planning to watch the Olympics anyway . . .