Tag Archive: Sherlock Holmes


Sherlocking London

We just spent four days touring London with a bit of a twist. As many of you might know, I’m a fan, and have been looking forward to exploring the city memorably serving as a backdrop to the famous detective. Even though most of BBC Sherlock was shot in Cardiff, many exterior shots were filmed in London. So we visited most of them and some of the ACD canon locations as well.

As a base, we used this free Sherlock Holmes tour:

If you want to know more about the locations, Sherlockology has a pretty swell list.

Lots of gratuitious selfies ahead, so stop reading now if you’re not into stupidly happy people. Consider yourself warned.

Sunday 

We arrived at Heathrow at an ungodly hour and had to have a kip once we checked into our hotel. In the evening, we started the tour at Picadilly Circus.

picadilly

This location is at the beginning for two reasons: It’s in the opening title of the BBC show as an iconic London landmark. In ‘A study in Scarlet’ Watson meets his friend Stamford at the Criterion. Over dinner he tells him that Sherlock is looking for a roommate. The Criterion is very beautiful:

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We were a bit underdressed but had some kick-ass martinis and ogled the gold ceiling (Thias had Tiramisu and I’m holding a surprisingly delicious Chili and Passionfruit concoction).

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After that, we met up with a friend and went to metal pub in Camden. Talk about contrast.

Monday

On Monday we had a Full English at Speedy’s Café. Best coffee I had in London so far.

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And of course, a gratuitious picture in front of “221b”.

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While scanning for free wifi I found this little gimmick:

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Hilarious!

Then we adjourned to the real 221b Baker Street. Emerging from the tube, you bump into the Sherlock Holmes statue.

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There is a little QR code you can scan as a part of the talking statues art project. He wishes he was facing the other way because it’s so boring. Also he misses Watson at his side. So sad.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221b Baker Street was expensive (15PS) but nice nonetheless. The first thing you notice when you enter is the intense smell, lemongrass oil. I wonder why they burn it, maybe the whole place reeks? It is rather old.

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Obligatory picture in the study, pipe, hat, the whole shebang.

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Behold the Hound and the mostly Chinese fan mail he boldly protects.

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After that we had stroll around Regent’s park to catch a break from all the belligerent tourists with their stupid selfie sticks. I was too ashamed to be photographed outside the museum wearing a deerstalker. I just couldn’t do it. It’s just an ear hat, anyway.

In the afternoon, we drove out to St. Barts.

barts

Sherlock jumped off the roof here. For the record, I still don’t believe Moriarty is really dead. If Sherlock can fake it, so can he.

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Sherlock left quite the “impact”, there was this where he landed on the pavement.

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If you zoom in closely, you can see the fan grafitti. Seems to be sort of a pilgrimage thing. The pathology wing is not in active use anymore, so tons of people wrote in the dirt on the windows.

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Speaking of fan fiction and various *locks, it might have made me chuckle just a tiny bit what kind of street is located exactly opposite the wing.

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We had a Sherlock-and-Molly-appropriate lunch at Barts (without any corpses).

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Next up was Tower 42, used as the bank in “The Blind Banker”. Exterior shot:

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Interior shot. Managed to sneak a quick picture in the lobby. As if I was going to rob them. Or am I?

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Mike Stamford and John Watson meet in Russell Square Garden in the new series. They’re still drinking Criterion coffee as a nod toward the original meeting place.

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After all that walking around we thought “Let’s have dinner!” and went to Angelo’s. Or rather, Tapas Brindisa in Soho. They redecorated a bit since filming ‘A Study in Pink’, but the hanging lights are still there.

brindisa-inside

Need a cab?

brindisa-outside

Tuesday

We started at the South Bank and systematically worked our way to Belgravia.The South Bank is basically all of ‘The Blind Banker’.

OXO Tower Wharf is where they find the murdered museum security guard. Fortunately, it was low tide, so we could descend to the shore.

oxo-wharf

Next up was the skate park where they find the code fragments.

skate-park

Waterloo Bridge (where Sherlock meets a representative of the Homeless network) is also there, but it was a bit dangerous on the other side.

Trafalgar Square.

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The Diogenes Club aka the British Academy.

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St. James Park, on our way to solve the attempted murder at the Wellington Barracks.

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Observing Wellington Barracks.

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For reference: ‘The Sign of Three’

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My Watson is not in the picture because he’s obviously taking it.

New Scotland Yard. Hi, Greg.

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44 Eaton Square. Hi, Irene.

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In the evening, we paid a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Pub near Trafalgar Square.

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I had Mrs Hudson’s Ale Pie and the local Sherlock Holmes brew. Couldn’t move after, so good.

There is a study you can peak into.

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Little details in decoration.

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After dinner, we went for a stroll along the shore again.

Hungerford Bridge by night.

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Wednesday

In the morning we visited the Natural History Museum, which in the late 19th century was still called the British Museum where Sherlock Holmes went for his research occasionally. Lots of dinosaurs and dead things.

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Postcards home! Can you decipher it?

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Flying home in the evening. Bye, London.

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Review: Sherlock Holmes – The Devil’s Daughter

I enjoyed the last two Frogwares Sherlock Holmes adventures so much that I anticipated the next part eagerly. Supposed to be released in May, it came out in June, on my wedding day, so I thought ‘Hey, I’ll buy this one now as a gift to myself’.

Was it fun? Yes, it was fun! 20 hours of fun, to be exact.

There are a lot of things going for this title. I love the dense Victorian London atmosphere, the hidden references, the ‘mind palace’ and character portraits.

But sadly, there are also many things that felt off to me.

Characters

The voice acting and characters in this series have been getting better and better. They were well done in the previous titles, e.g. ‘Crimes and Punishments’.

And they changed the voice actors, which is always a shame. I liked the previous interpretations and I was disappointed to not meet old acquaintances.

(Except Lestrade. They didn’t change Lestrade. Hey, Greg.)

I’ve grown rather attached to that version of Watson. The Watson character in ‘The Devil’s Daughter’ looks like a Spanish rent boy and embodies none of his characteristics as charmingly as his predecessor.

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How is that the same person?

 

 

Also Katelyn aka the Devil’s aka Moriarty’s daughter was just plain annoying. Her story arc was well executed, but she didn’t feel like a kid you’d want to save at all. Sorry. Her voice acting felt like an adult playing a cranky girl.

Sherlock was more or less ok, though he looked very disheveled – not very English, right? You don’t even get a suit until the third case. How I am supposed to live?

New and old elements

Some old elements were changed: The lockpicking system has gotten more intricate, which is good, because I like lockpicking! Now there are two levels you can switch between. I think I prefer with system to the previous one (turn the cylinder until the lines match, boring).

They added a some new elements to the game: There are some balancing and chasing scenes. The balancing acts felt very contrived to me. I’m not a assassin, I’m a dectective. I detect. I don’t want to join the circus. In one episode you play street urchin  Wiggins (from the ‘homeless network’) observing a suspect, that was in character and appropriate. The chase was fun and ‘Assassin’s Creed’-like. But I feel that the game could have done without that extra element, which just makes you spend more time on not solving any cases. Which is what this game is all about. Or it should be.

The bar fight was fun, though, and had the right pace! So not all the new elements are useless, but some just weren’t very ‘fitting’. Character portraits, deductions and crimes scene mechanics are the same, thank God.

All in all, it’s worth spending time and money on. But I miss my old pals, and I have no sense of balance whatson-ever.

 

 

Sherlock armchairs

You see beneath one of the most chaotic but also charming living rooms. Just noticing small things in this carefully designed set will make for interesting discoveries.

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Among other little things, it’s fascinating to see how the arm chairs represent the characters. John’s chair is to the left: It has soft red colors and is well equipped with a tartan blanket and pillows. Implicitly: Comfort, security, the country (I think at one point I remember a Union Jack pillow being there). Sherlock’s chair is black leather and steel, all business and aloof. It barely touches the floor. Also, it’s expensive (Le Corbusier) and treated rather carelessly. Symbolism, anyone?

I bet you could write a paper about who sits where and what this means. For example, the only time Sherlock sits in John’s chair is when Moriarty visits the flat. After Reichenbach, Sherlock’s chair becomes a placeholder for the missing character. Others noticed this.

For die hard fans, they’re making an LC3 Corbusier for sale now.

(Don’t ask why that particular line of research happened, please. I am very happy with my battered sofa, and not thinking of replacing it, thank you.)

The ‘New’ Nerdism?

I get the feeling that mainstream culture has become more friendly towards nerds lately. What is a nerd? Since when does nerdism make for a ‘good story’? What are the character constellations? And why do you still love them?

What is a nerd?

Wikipedia sez:

Nerd (adjective: nerdy) is a descriptive term, often used pejoratively, indicating that a person is overly intellectual, obsessive, or socially impaired. They may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular, obscure, or non-mainstream activities, which are generally either highly technical or relating to topics of fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities.“

Urban dictionary sez:

„An ‘individual’, i.e. a person who does not conform to society’s beliefs that all people should follow trends and do what their peers do. Often highly intelligent but socially rejected because of their obesssion with a given subject, usually computers. Unfortunately, nerds seem to have problems breeding, to the detriment of mankind as a whole.“

I guess the term has been thrown around a lot, but whatever the specifics, the common nerdy traits are a) intelligence and/or extraordinary skill/knowledge in one or a few areas and b) social ineptitude.

Previously on … Nerds

In antiquity, in the late Middle ages and early renaissance there are various comedies which explore the world of academia. Of course, at this time, the word nerd didn’t exist, but you see, the topic is not new. I guess the german term I know (Gelehrtenkomödie) translates to „scholar comedy“. One example I read by accident, called „Melancholicus“ by Christian Bachmann.

The main character displays, among others, bad traits such as avarice, jealousy, vanity, (generally not great features to have), paranoia, hypochondria and social phobia. He has poor understanding of the world in general but great knowledge in specific areas (in this case, astronomy). He is contrasted by other, ‘normal’ figures, e.g. his wife. The comedies of this time want to display a bunch of bad character traits and ridicule them. There is a didactic effect: „Listen here, folks, this is how you don’t do it!“

The Shel-lock Syndrome

Zapping to modern times. Some factors have stayed the same. Famous nerds on TV right now are e.g. Sheldon Cooper from the sitcom „The Big Bang Theory“ or Sherlock Holmes („Sherlock“).

by Chelsi Wagner (devianart)

In their respective series, it’s a constant struggle between social norms and science. Again, both characters have poor understanding of the world or society in general but great knowledge in specific areas (physics, detective skills). They too are contrasted by other figures that the audience can identify with. They have no exceptional skills (Penny, John Watson) but are accepted members of society and know how to navigate social norms. This makes for countless situations of comic relief. Nerds have different goals in life: they want to solve problems, they want to be scientifically successful. ‘Normal’ peoples’ goals usually prioritize „having a good time“, which includes being a recognized part of society, being loved by others or one significant other. Thinks the nerd: This is not my priority so I won’t skill it (maybe displaying a bit of nerdism here myself). Although they want acceptance, too, but on a different, not-everyday level; they want their work to be recognized and be admired by the people who can actually understand and value what they are doing. Vanity: check.

The lovable sociopath

What is the difference between a sociopath that you can still deem adorable and laugh about and a sociopath that you hate? The nerd who is only interested in his or her thing doesn’t care about peoples’ feeling because they are irrelevant. But they don’t disregard or hurt people because they want to, but because they simply don’t know how ‘normal’ people deal with other ‘normal’ people. So each time a boundary is overstepped, someone is insulted or someone gets hurt by their inobservance of social conventions, the audience sort of understands. You might say „god, what an utter arsehole“, but what you mean „this person behaves like an arsehole“. You wouldn’t hold it against them because you still think they might learn how to deal with the situation in question appropriately. You respect them for their skills, which might mean nothing to you personally, but dedication and intelligence are generally positive attributes, and you adore them for trying to navigate uncharted territory when they try to ‘fit in’. In short, you forgive them their mistakes because you believe they can do better. It’s a variation on the „Only I can fix him“ trope.

Worth a tale

The pattern is: friends and family try to integrate the nerd into society as they think would be right, but expectations differ, often hilariously. This display does not serve a didactic purpose, but it still sets the dynamics for a story between characters of different worlds, so to speak, and makes for good entertainment. It seems to be extremely popular at the moment. Maybe I’ll write about tv displays of OCD next, because that’s going through the roof, too.

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