The pandemic has put us through a lot of weirdness, but one thing I never saw coming was playing host to this year's alternative event to the BSI dinner. Since the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes first found themselves unable to get in to the annual dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars, there has been an alternative function. First the ASH dinner, running for decades, then the Baskerville Bash, then the Gaslight Gala. And now . . .
Well, I'm not going to even pretend that our little Dangling Prussian Pub Night was on the level of any of those New York functions. We had about sixty register for the six hour event, and a top attendance at any given point of about thirty-two, I think. But it hit close to that number immediately, and those gathered were, for the most part, just comfy talking among our group with only a few folks trying out the breakout rooms.
For the first two hours we just talked. The mix of Sherlockians who have been a part of the cult for up to fifty or so years with newer folk was just about perfect, and even though the conversation occasional wandered into one of those pockets where two folks get off topic to some less room-filling concern, we always bounced back. Everyone was cordial, kind, and, best of all, interesting.
We had folks with closed video who just hung out with us, we had Sherlockians I hadn't met even on Zoom before whom I always wanted to meet, we had old friends, new friends, names you'd know, and Zoom regulars, all in our little bunker to weather the storm.
Our video presentations from Josh Harvey (music), Paul Thomas Miller (our opening number), and Mary O'Reilly (our world premiere short film) were all very cool and very well received. The induction ceremony for the Montague Street Incorrigibles was some silly "repeat after me" fun that we had to do a second time when Josh was finally able to escape rehearsals. And we shan't talk about the standup "comedy" of Professor Presbury, because you know how lame first time comics are.
We never really got to "open mic" time, because it seemed like everybody who wanted to say something pretty much got a chance in the six hours of zoom. I mean, SIX HOURS OF ZOOM. Who does that?
But amazingly, we stayed at close to thirty folks for most of it, dropping to about twenty three in the final couple hours and not much further after that. A lot of us wait and watch every year to see who the Baker Street Irregulars decide to make new members, and I think the most important part of the event was giving us someone to wait with.
It actually got to be exciting fun just to put our feelers out into the world, via social media and personal text messages to see if we could get a response from somebody. The BSI dinner has famously had edicts against attendees using their phones during the event (C'mon, folks, it's 2022!) but a few brave souls snuck out a pic or word or two and we knew of first one new Irregular, then two more, then most of the list, then Scott Monty's full official listing. And every step along the way got a very happy response, as we saw some really refreshing membership choices being made for the grand old organization. I wore my Baker Street Irregulars tie last night for the first time in decades, and the names we saw made me proud for making that choice.
When the end of our time came, with my co-host Madeline Quinones starting to nod a little bit, I really hated to see it end. We went fifteen minutes over the planned end time of midnight EST, said our happy goodbyes, and I went to bed pleased with a worn but not worn out throat from all the chatting.
And so much appreciation for our Sherlockian community, where a sixty-four-year-old thirteen-year-old like myself can still be very silly, still learn a lot of new things, and even after all this time, just enjoy the company of some of the best folks you'd ever want to meet. Thanks to all. Seriously. Thanks.