Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gatiss in Indiana. Jitters in Peoria.

Okay, here's the point where those of you who already don't think I'm a bit mad join the rest of the readership.

Yesterday came a HUGE announcement via I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere: The fourth Gillette to Brett symposium over in Indiana had scored Mark Gatiss as a guest for its weekend this fall.

Yes, in mid-September, I can simply drive across one state line and see the co-creator of BBC Sherlock and the actor who plays Mycroft in that same production. Probably one of the greatest contributors to Sherlockian culture currently alive on this planet.

My initial reaction?

Complete and utter terror.

Yes, I'm a bit mad, you see. To me, Mark Gatiss is London, just as Mycroft Holmes was the British Government. And what do I mean by that?

You see, I've never been to London. And don't really have a desire to go, despite the thousands of people over the years who say, "You like Sherlock Holmes? You really need to go to England."

Yes, I like Sherlock Holmes. I love 221B Baker Street and the London that surrounds it. But I also know that place is kinda like Middle Earth or Narnia, despite the great amount of historically correct detail that Doyle wove into the fabric of that universe. And I'd hate to have that London ruined with an overlay of traffic, museum souvenir shops, and the possibility of the occasional bad sandwich. London surely has positives to outweigh all that, all on its own, but it could also be like New York . . . and let's not even get into my issues there.

So . . . fear of ruining illusions. We do have more episodes of Sherlock to come. And also, add to that one more peccadillo: fear of celebrities. As many a friend who has tried to drag me to celebrity tables at cons has noticed, I have a definite fear of the celebrated personage. When you meet a normal person for the first time, you get a nice trickle of information about them, information you can interact with and digest at a reasonable pace. When you meet a celebrity whom you have any interest at all in, so much data comes flooding to the front, most of it having nothing to do with their state in that moment. If they're on a stage, separated from the audience, they're like animals in the zoo kept at a safe distance. But do I want to actually pet a tiger? So many ways it can go horribly awry.

Same with celebrities . . . so many ways it can go horribly awry.

Sure, they aren't going to eat you. But say the wrong thing and you're a Chris Farley character, going "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" to yourself in your private moments for the rest of your days. I could list the number of celebrities, big and small, whom I felt like a complete idiot after meeting, even after I did nothing noticeably wrong, but even that would be a little embarrassing.

Now comes my real quandry, though, in any case: Sign-ups for From Gillette to Brett IV are said to start this weekend over at the Wessex Press site. With a top-level guest like Mark Gatiss, the conference is bound to sell out incredibly fast. We Middlewesterners are desperate for the rare celebrity appearance, and Gatiss is bound to draw folks in from elsewhere as well. So I have to get over my little issues and get signed up before that happens.

You might want to carpe you own diem and get on that little bandwagon in the days ahead. And maybe I'll see you there. But I'm also the guy who missed Jeremy Brett in St. Louis during the height of the Granada series . . . and who does that?

Once again, we shall see.