I attended my first ever Sherlock “meet up” on 21st April 2012. It was organised by the Baker Street Babes in support of Undershaw and we met at Trafalgar Square, starting the event with a “freeze” where everyone adopted different poses and stood that way for five minutes, which was a very long time. I’m glad I didn’t do something stupid, but there were two guys dressed as Holmes and Moriarty doing a classic Reichenbach Fall bartitsu pose, very impressive.

We held up signs saying “Save Undershaw” then did a Vatican Cameos. For those that don’t know, this is a BBC Sherlock related thing where everyone dives on the floor when someone shouts the words “vatican cameoes” – taken from the first episode of the second series “A Scandal in Belgravia” and of course “the little affair of the vatican cameoes” was one of Holmes’ cases mentioned in the canon but never expanded upon in detail by Watson.

After spending a good hour or so in Trafalgar Square, we headed to a nearby pub where a room had been booked and we all piled in for food, drinks and a quiz, then a Scavenger Hunt was held all along the Southbank. We got given a list of clues and questions and we worked in teams to travel to different locations, take photographs of our group in different poses, find things, solve the problems etc. It was brilliantly organised and rather clever (and difficult).

It was the first time I’d ever cosplayed and the first time I’d ever attended an event like that, so I was both excited and nervous. I had a fantastic experience and it led me to develop my Sherlock cosplay and start attending future similar events, most of which were based around BBC Sherlock.

As the months progressed, I noticed a distinct rise in the amount of young new Sherlockians who were starting to develop their knowledge of the canon, something I found especially heartening, and in July of 2012 I attended quite a large meet up where one of the main sections of the different teams’ challenge/tasks was to take pictures of themselves acting out various titles from the canon. Eg. one of us got on a bike and was the Solitary Cyclist, three of us stood outside a university for Three Students and so on. The more pictures we got whilst we were out and about, the more points we got later on. People were getting more questions right in the canon section on the quizzes and there was a better general knowledge of Sherlock Holmes amongst members of the fandom.

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On 27th June 2012 I attended a lecture at St Barts by Alistair Duncan called A Study In Bart’s: Holmes, Watson, and England’s Great Hospital. I’d heard about it on the internet via the Baker Street Babes and booked myself a ticket. The Babes themselves were in attendance and made a recording of Alistair’s talk, which can be heard here:

http://bakerstreetbabes.podomatic.com/entry/2012-06-28T00_43_12-07_00

The evening made a big impression on me, first of all because Alistair’s story of discovering Holmes for the first time was extremely similar to my own, and I agreed with some of the points he was making as to why Holmes is such a popular figure. It was also an important night because that was when I decided to join the Sherlock Holmes Society of London…so thanks Alistair!

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After receiving my first package through from the SHSL, I read an advert from a group of Sherlockians in Leeds called the Scandalous Bohemians who said they were just starting up meetings and were looking for people to come and join them. Leeds is rather close to where I live, certainly closer than London anyway, and so I got in touch with the Bohemians to find out more.

I was incredibly nervous and slightly star struck when I discovered the group was led by legendary Sherlockian David Stuart Davies and thought I couldn’t possibly attend without making a complete fool of myself. I’d only managed to get half way through my re-reading of the canon since the avid reading of my childhood and so I was a little out of practice on Sherlockian matters.

I soon discovered that the older generation of Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts were just as immature and silly as the younger generation and although I’m at that strange age when I’m often the oldest at a BBC Sherlock meet up but the youngest at a “traditional” Holmes meet up, I felt like I could fit in immediately and was instantly relaxed and happy in the company of other people I could relate to. In many ways I actually prefer these meetings and the SHSL ones to the BBC Sherlock ones, because I feel like I can discuss ALL aspects of Holmes without worrying that somebody might not get the references or cool canon joke I was making.

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Despite this positive introduction into the traditionalist Holmes world and several successful subsequent SB meetings, I was still incredibly nervous when I turned up for my first SHSL event on 4th October 2012 at the National Liberal Club in London. I assumed they would all be Sherlockian purists who would turn their nose up at my replica Benedict Cumberbatch coat and my appreciation of the BBC adaptation and that they would take me for a “new” fan with little or no knowledge of the canon. This apprehension wasn’t helped by the obviously lavish setting of the Liberal Club which reminded me of how I’d always imagined the Diogenes in my head. I half expected to get dragged away for talking and at first I didn’t even know if I’d arrived in the correct room.

I approached someone at the bar and quickly deduced them using my Sherlockian skills, spotting a small pin badge on their lapel of a magnifying glass. “Is this the right place for Sherlock Holmes?” I asked tentatively, and found I was speaking to David Jones,  the secretary. I was very quickly introduced to everybody I considered important in the Sherlockian world and felt right at home chatting to them all within seconds, all my previous fears evapourating rapidly.

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I now attend SHSL events whenever they occur, as well as the SB meetings in Leeds every couple of months, and BBC Sherlock fan meet ups that take place in London on a regular basis. Every single weekend there is at least one thing to do somewhere in the country that’s related to Sherlock Holmes. My diary was getting fuller and fuller and soon I was going to so many events that I couldn’t remember them all, which seemed a shame. I’d had the idea of starting this blog for a while, even if it’s simply to document some of the interesting and fun activities I attend on a regular basis. If other Sherlockians enjoy reading this too, then that’s great, and hopefully it will encourage them to go to some of the events themselves in the future.