Monday, January 20, 2020

A second hand first time.

We all get only one first time. Thirty-three years ago, I had mine.

This weekend, however, was a pleasant little echo of that experience, thanks to reports and pictures from my friend Rob Nunn getting to do his first trip to the Sherlock Holmes birthday weekend in New York City. Now, Rob and I are two very different cats (excuse the dated hipster slang, but I'm feeling it tonight). I love "Holmes and Watson." Rob thinks that's daft. Rob is a major mover in the Beacon Society. I was the one person at their very first recruitment meeting who didn't think the Beacon idea would work. (Rob gets to be right about Beacon, I, then get to be right about H&W, right?) Anyway, as different as we are, there are things we share as humans and Sherlockians.

Like the way we think of our fellow Sherlockians as celebrities. Sure, we do have some actual celebrities, names people other than Sherlockians know. But then there are the people we have heard of and read for years. The people on our shelves, our walls, and our Twitter feeds. The event-runners, the podcasters, the dinner speakers, the editors, and the legends. When you get to go somewhere and get all of those people in one place, at a point in your life where some of them know who you are as well . . . that's a pretty good moment.

Sure, there are some nice bookstores in New York. There's a dealer's room that'll drain off any excess cash after you shop the stores. There's a fancy dinner in fancy clothes, a fun dinner where you can where fancy clothes as well, a speaker, an auction, cocktails, etc. But not a lot of Big News comes out of the Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend every year, because mostly people are just enjoying the company of their fellow Sherlockians. That's huge.

It was fascinating to look at all Rob's pictures and then dig out my album of pictures from my 1987 trip. The first thing you notice? More than one gender! Rob's pictures would actually give you the idea that there are now more women in New York for Sherlock's birthday weekend than men. In my little album, you have to get to the last two pages to see anyone who isn't male. And then, there's only four: Teddie Niver, Dore Nash, Evelyn Herzon, and Tina Rhea. Seems like a lot when you push the names together like that, but if you had to flip through all the suit-and-tie guys I had to get past to get to them . . . yikes!

The second thing I picked up from all of Rob's reporting was how much the social whirl has grown in the past three decades and change. It didn't happen all at once, and definitely had increased from that 1980s start to the last time I was there, but the expansion doesn't seem to be letting up. New York is a great metropolis with so much to do, but it's a real testament to our hobby that with all those other things to do and sites to see, we'd all just rather see each other. (I know it was my third or fourth trip before I saw a Broadway show, the Empire State Building, the library, or any museum.)

But while it was grand to see Rob enjoying the hell out of the weekend and all its denizens, seeing it all from a distance was good enough. Sherlockians can be found in less bustling towns with easier dress codes, and 221B Con really scratches the big event itch for me while constantly showing me something new. And I still wonder why there's never been a Sherlockian event in Las Vegas, because . . . hey, it's Las Vegas. I definitely have a feeling that Rob will be back in NYC again, though, and that makes me smile.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for your confidence in the Beacon Society. :-)