BAKER STREET BABES PODCAST
EPISODE 45: Sherlock Holmes After Dark Pt 2, AIR DATE: 20/09/13
RUNNING TIME: 1:07, BABES: Curly, Liz, Lyndsay, GUESTS: Madlori, Reapersun, Sketchlock
TRANSCRIBED BY: autumnbees
Liz: Do we want to talk about Irene Adler? We have quite a few questions about her.
Lyndsay: Including from TheWhipHand!
Curly: Yes, I love her so much! Okay, so TheWhipHand asked, “Did portraying Irene as a Dominatrix for hire belittle her character or strengthen it?” And I actually really have strong feelings about this, so if I can hijack answering this for a second, I’d be much obliged.
Lyndsay: Do it.
Sketch: Go for it.
Lyndsay: Do it. Do it now. Do it.
Sketch: You’ve got the floor.
Curly: I think I speak for a lot of young women in that I don’t really feel confident in my sexuality – and I’m sorry this is TMI, and I really hope my mother isn’t listening, but – I am not really experienced, but I’ve always really admired women who really own their sexuality. So whether it’s à la BBC Adler and they’re not afraid to take charge in the bedroom, or if it’s as simple as wearing something that makes them feel really sexy, I’m so stupidly self-conscious, so seeing Adler as a sexy, confident woman was really… inspiring to me? Like I was watching it going, “Holy shit!” And that goes for Laura as well, when we talked to her she was so confident and what lady-crush I already had on her sort of tripled.
Lyndsay: I know.
Curly: So I think Irene being a dominatrix in Sherlock was a really great choice because it set Irene apart, but it still paid homage to the canonical Adler as a smart, confident woman who was an adventuress. It modernized that aspect but it kept like the same essence of her character.
Lyndsay: I’m sorry, can I just slow-clap you for a second? (Slow clapping) (Laughter) Fucking fantastic. I have so many feelings on this subject too, but I’m still slow-clapping. I grew up in a very conservative setting as well. As I said before, you know, “boobs are not on the TV” – I solved my sexual, stunted repressed nature, with porn. So yeah, it is really neat to see a- and not to say necessarily that Irene Adler is overtly having sex with her clients, because of all of the sex trades, a dominatrix is probably the least likely to have to engage in actual sex with her clients if she doesn’t want to. She’s in charge. So, since she’s in charge, we don’t know if she was banging them, she might have just been beating them. Whichever, it was awesome. I do respect that so much, because I needed to see more of that when i was a kid. I have an admitted problem with Irene Adler now in new adaptations, including the Warner Brothers incarnation. Why does she have to be naked? Irene Adler beat Sherlock Holmes at his own game, and she did it as a woman and she did it disguised a as dude for a minute, but she also did it without flirting with him. And that aspect of the original- I mean, she was engaged to be married, and then married, to the love of her life. And I find it kind of strange that she was necessarily turned into Sherlock Holmes’ romantic liaison. So, applause on the dominatrix, no applause on that particular ship. Anyone else who wants to ship it- do it.
Curly: That’s been a popular ship for quite a while. How far back does that actually go? I know the Mary Russell books, obviously.
Lyndsay: Well that’s canon in the Mary Russell books. I mean, they have a kid together.
Lyndsay: They have a son who… yeah.
Curly: Yeah, but how far back does Holmes and Adler having a thing go?
Lyndsay: Oh man. I’m gonna text Les.
Curly: We have a question!
Madlori: That was my very first Sherlock Holmes ship, was Sherlock and Irene.
Curly: Oh really?
Madlori: Yeah. When I was a young jaded teenager, reading the Holmes stories. I thought “Oh, wouldn’t that be nice?”
Curly: I can totally see the appeal of it. Completely.
Liz: I think I will speak as the person who’s sort of always been the aggressor in my relationships. I identified with that version of Irene and I think- I mean, the original in canon in Bohemia, she to me was sort of the embodiment of the confident woman. So being a dominatrix isn’t necessarily- or even being, um- I think there’s some question from a lot of people, whether or not she was some kind of partner for hire or whatever, that. I never thought of it as a question of “is she the kind of woman…” it was never about sex. It was the issue, the kind of woman who owns her own being, who has self-awareness and strength that comes from within herself.
Curly: Yeah, yeah totally.
Liz: And I think it’s interesting because – this is the random side-notes of life – in college I had a really good friend who was a dominatrix, and that was how she paid for college. She paid cash for college doing things for men, like dressing them up as babies, dripping hot wax on them, stepping on them with stilettos. I always thought it was a very comical situation but, you know, at the end of the day the thing that she always said to me was “I don’t have sex with these people.” I think it’s a misconception among a lot of people that dominatrix equals prostitute. And-
Curly: For sure, yeah
Liz: That’s an unfair characterization of that profession. Not to say- you know, people do what they gotta do. But I think if there’s one thing we could clear up about it: dominatrix is not a prostitute.
Sketchlock: Yeah. Actually, to add another example to that, I’m currently in art school and actually I think one of my teachers mentioned that a previous student of his was a porn star, and that’s how she paid for college. You know, and that was- well, you gotta pay the bills. But just because you’re a porn star doesn’t actually mean you had sex with people. I mean, I don’t know the situation there, but I’m just saying that’s what I heard.
Curly: I mean, there’s the whole sex workers thing, but I think definitely, dominatrix- they don’t have sex. As you said, they are completely in charge and if the guy was like “We should have sex,” she’d probably, you know, whip ‘em or something, and he’d like it. And that’d be end of story. (laughter)
Liz: I think one thing that’s kind of interesting to people and actually was interesting to me, and probably what made me go bonkers over the BBC iteration, was just that there’s a real vulnerability to being a very strong woman. And this is of course me projecting my own issues, but when you’re very very strong and people perceive you as very strong and very independant and very, strong-willed, being vulnerable can feel very dangerous. And I think that that is part of what made Irene so interesting and so fascinating. Not the fact that she was working as a dominatrix or that she was sexy or that she was trying to appeal to some latent sexual urges within Sherlock, but that she was actually putting herself out there in a way that made her risk her life. And I think that is just as important as any sort of sexual storyline that was inherent in that.
Lyndsay: That’s such a good comment. I have explained to a few people previously and it never makes sense when I try to talk about it, but part of the reason that – I mean, I just also naturally really like pretty dresses – but part of the reason that I’m covered in sparkles everywhere I go in the Sherlockian community, is because they don’t look at me anymore. Like it’s kind of a shield? There’s a certain dragon-scale quality to sequins. I’ve never been able to define it very articulately, but it’s true. If I walk into a space wearing a ridiculous amount of what I consider to be armor – which are sequins. (Laughter) Then fewer people accost me with weird questions, and that’s always baffled me.
Liz: I think it just goes back to it so interestingly. I was talking to a friend of mine over lunch about, you know just sort of having- what our fashion sense is and this is sort of strangely related, but I always said to her that my fashion sense is that if somebody sees me, I want them to think that I could kick their ass. So I stay away from any sort of sparkly anything really, as a result, but maybe I’m doing it wrong. (laughter) I don’t know.
Curly: I like sparkles.
Lyndsay: You’re not doing it wrong, you’re doing it right for you. It’s just this thing where some of the people who’ve been involved in Sherlockiana for a really long time, um. I have to say first of all: ninety-nine percent of people who have been involved in Sherlockiana for a really long time, in terms of the physical meeting at the Scion societies and at the Baker Street Irregulars, etc., are perfectly nice lovely people. But for that tiny bit that isn’t, if you walk in as a lady wearing- I shouldn’t give this secret away, should I? (laughter) Wearing something epilepsy-inducing, then you don’t quite have to deal with as many questions as you would otherwise, because you’re under the radar because you’re above the radar. That’s super deep, I know, just absorb it guys.
Sketch: It’s like you’re so far above the radar that you’re off the radar.
Lyndsay: Exactly. I’m sorry for even bringing it up, but it is a weird thing that I have done many times and it works.
Liz: I think it does work because that’s – okay, let’s bring it full-circle – the reality is the reason that Sherlock Holmes can’t read Irene Adler is because he’s seeing something he normally doesn’t have to measure up, right? And people probably are seeing a person they haven’t had to measure up before. That would be my interpretation.
Lyndsay: Yeah, I would say the same. I can’t really measure the effect that it has because, you know, when I wander around in that sort of state it’s just me geeking out about Sherlock Holmes, but I’m geeking out about it wearing something outrageous, you know?
Lyndsay: So that I’m not asked typical questions. But it’s also interesting, and I don’t know if anyone wants to talk about this so I’ll just give it a very brief- this was not a problem before the Warner Brothers film came out. And I love the Warner Brothers film and I love BBC Sherlock and I love Elementary. I love all of them. But what happened was, when I entered the Sherlockian community I was instantly sort of semi-accepted by most parties and so many brilliant, gorgeous parties. Because what would you be doing here if you weren’t a real Sherlockian? And so it turned into this sort of – after the Warner Brothers films came out, it happened almost instantly – a lot of young ladies enjoy the Jude Law and the Robert and the, you know-
Curly: Epic romance.
Lyndsay: We- Babes, all the Babes call Game of Shadows “a gay of gay”, and I don’t think we’re sorry. (laughter) But it turned into proving a negative, in a really weird way for a really brief while. And I don’t want to bring up random strange shit, but: you can’t prove the negative, that you’re not just a blank-fan. You’re not just a Downey Jr fan, you’re not just a Cumberbatch fan, you’re not just an Asylum Sherlock Holmes fan. Which is the greatest adaptation of all time. So, I wasn’t under the sort of onus of proving your canonical knowledge. And this is only from, seriously, a very small percentage of people, and no one should ever be scared about going to a physical Sherlockian Scion meeting, ‘cause they’re brilliant. But I started seeing it happening to my friends, you know. A little bit.
Madlori: So there was “fake geek girl” stuff going on.
Lyndsay: Fake geek girl stuff, and it made the- you know what? Lori, that’s exactly what it was. It was fake geek girl stuff, and it was Cumberbatch-oriented and Downey Jr-oriented and it made me so angry, because I was like, “Basil Rathbone wore a fedora, fucker.” (laughter) That’s not canon. That’s not a thing that happened.
Curly: Off topic…
Liz: I think what you’re bringing up is that, at it’s heart- I mean if we think about “how did you fall in love with Sherlock Holmes?” or “how did you fall in love with the stories?” For a lot of us, I think probably what’s true is that we read the stories when we were young, or we read the stories when we were in high school or college, and then time passes and it fades away. And nothing will draw your attention back to something that you loved like adding sexy cheekbones like Cumberbatch to nostalgia, and you’ve got a really great mix for intense fandom. That’s what happened to me and I think that’s what happened to a lot of other people. It doesn’t change the fact that somebody put a book in my hand twenty years ago and said “Read this.”
Lyndsay: Sorry Chris, that was totally off topic. But you know, women are very much involved in the Sherlockian erotica… industry. Should I call it an industry?
Curly: It’s an industry.
Lyndsay: Lemme get back to that…
Curly: I think the overall point that I think you guys were trying to make is that, I think a lot of people when they see young girls saying they’re Sherlock Holmes fans, they’re like, “oh, you’re just in it for Cumberbatch and Freeman and”-
Curly: And there’s that slash stigma that we’re definitely-
Madlori: But what if you are? Even if you are only-
Curly: Right, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And I think just a lot of people- and there was actually a comment made on our Facebook that um, someone said they were just from the older generation and they think, you know, the idea slash is vulgar.
Madlori: Yay vulgar!
Lyndsay: Is lesbian pornography also vulgar? I hope so.
Curly: But there is that stigma. And I think opening a dialogue about what slash fiction is and just talking about it, because- I actually just got an email filled with like, ten thousand questions. I dunno why they sent it now. But it’s talking about, you know, the kink meme and all this kind of stuff. And I think a lot of people get really freaked out, cause it’s so hyper-sexualized, and people are like “Oh my God! How can you do that?” Like they think we’re degrading the characters, in a way. And it’s like, no, actually not, we’re just exploring different facets of relationships and that kind of thing. So I dunno, especially Lori and Lyndsay and everyone were talking about- and I think even Sketch and Reaper, you can comment on this, with kinkmemes and getting requests for writing certain things, that kinda stuff.
Madlori: I’ve always said that entering a fandom is like deep-sea diving. When you first get into it, you stay kinda shallow and you stay down for a little while and then you go up again. And the next time you go in, you go further down, and further down, and further down, and you get acclimatized to every depth that you go. And you could never conceive of going right down to the very bottom on your first trip. So your first experience reading slash, you’re gonna read, you know, something nice, fluffy, maybe a little hurt/comfort, something- you know, you don’t- and then suddenly three months later you’re reading omegaverse AU vampire fic.
Lyndsay: Three months later you’re reading tunalock! (laughter)
Madlori: It just seems totally, you know- but that’s part of the experience. ‘Cause all slash is not created equal. Slash comes in different varieties and different flavors and there’s something to suit every taste. If you wanna read vampire omegaverse AU, that’s great, there’s stories out there for you. But if you just wanna read fluffy reichenbach return fic, there’s lots of that for you too. And there’s also the perception of slash as one-hundred percent about the smut. Which, hey, I love smut! Ha, who doesn’t? Some of my favorite stories have been one-shots that are just PWPs, but some of my other favorite stories are long, plotty things that have a lot of emotional resonance and plot, and the smut is kind of there for seasoning.
Madlori: And there’s a lot of ways to incorporate the smut. So to speak.
Sketchlock: I’ve always thought that with Sherlock, it’s almost as if- um, I’m not the best at articulating this. But I think it’s sort of like, whatever you might need to be happy during a certain time of day or just, you know, “Well, I feel like some fluff now,” or, “I feel like some PWP,” whatever. But there’s always something out there. And I feel like when you watch Sherlock, or getting into this IP – intellectual property – to begin with, it’s sorta like- yeah, I’m fucking this up really badly. Okay, I’m gonna back up and say for example, I’ve always thought that with Sherlock and John, I can relate to them both in different ways. And – this goes back to when I was answering about – I said that Watson is my favorite character, but actually I would say that I can’t really see them as two separate characters sometimes. Because it’s like they- the way that Watson acts or the way that Holmes acts, those are different parts of the brain, per se, or one person’s personality. So you empathize with what you need to empathize with, or fill in the holes with what you need.
Lyndsay: They’re two halves of one functioning human being.
Sketchlock: Exactly. It’s- okay, yeah, that.
Lyndsay: Essentially they’re soulmates, that’s what it is.
Curly: Yeah. I don’t think anyone would really disagree with that. They’ll disagree with the level of soulmate, but I think everyone agrees that they are- without one another they are completely lost human beings.
Lyndsay: John Watson loves Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes loves John Watson. It’s canon. I mean, it’s canon. Read the canon. If you wanna look for proof, find it in the canon. You don’t have to turn it into a sexual relationship, but it’s a fact.
Sketchlock: So I guess what I’m trying to say is that as a fan going into it, it’s like there’s so much possibility for everything there, so you can find what you need. And I feel like that’s especially evident in this- cause there’s a lot of other fandoms of different things out there, but I feel like it’s really strong in Sherlock Holmes. At least, that’s my opinion.
Reapersun: Yeah, if I could add- it’s really interesting, the variation, the whole different types of stories. It’s something you don’t really- I mean, I haven’t read a lot of fiction lately, a lot of novels, but it just seems like a lot of themes that you don’t really see in mainstream novels and stories. And I love how something will come up – like omegaverse, basically – and different authors will offer their different takes on it and it’ll develop into something really interesting that you probably wouldn’t see anywhere else, outside of fandom.
Curly: I think that’s very true. And, just because there are a lot of people who listen to this who aren’t necessarily in the fandom community, do we want to explain some of these terms? Just so they don’t go Googling things and get shocked.
Lyndsay: I would like Sketchlock to explain what omegaverse is.
Sketchlock: Oh. Really? Um.
Madlori: Go, Sketch, go!
Lyndsay: It would make me super happy.
Sketchlock: Gosh. Oh, there’s so many. Cause I- for me, the thing about AU fic is just to see the world-building, and there’s so many different kinds of omegaverse out there. It’s like- how do you even start with that?
Lyndsay: That was a good deflection.
Sketchlock: I- okay, I’ll give it a shot, but it might be terrible. Um.
Lyndsay: My body is ready.
Sketchlock: Oh my gosh. Okay, so basically, if you want- ‘cause I, I haven’t actually read a lot of fic lately, I’ve been too busy to do that, so I’m a little- okay, but from what I remember, it’s basically, um… alpha, beta and omega dynamics, where it’s- the alpha is the strong… type, I guess, that… (laughter)
Curly: I can just picture you writhing in your chair.
Sketchlock: I’m just like, sitting here going “What? Um…” (laughter)
Curly: Reaper, did you wanna help her out just so she doesn’t implode?
Reapersun: Do you want help? I don’t- Um… (laughter)
Madlori: I can take a stab at it.
Sketchlock: -both try to figure this out. How would you actually sum up omega fic?
Madlori: I would sum it up by saying it’s an elaborate world-building concept built around the concept of Mpreg.
Curly: Which is?
Lyndsay: That’s excellent, yeah.
Madlori: Which is a long-standing trope in fandom around male pregnancy. That has been going on for many many years, I used to see it in Harry Potter when I read and wrote in the Harry Potter fandom. But it’s blossomed into a kind of whole societal, world-building, alternate universe, alternate biology framework into which that concept fits.
Sketchlock: There we go.
Reapersun: And sex pollen. Uncontrollable.
Madlori: Yeah. It has elements of sex pollen and-
Sketchlock: That’s a big one.
Madlori: Pheromones and heat and knotting… yeah.
Curly: It has a lot of mammalistic, wolfpack quality kinda stuff to it.
Madlori: Very animalistic.
Sketchlock: So basically the omega is usually the baby-making machine, and they’ll go into heat. Depending on what the author dictates, the world-building, they’ll just go into heat once a year, twice a month- whatever. And then the alpha will just basically have sex with them a lot when that happens. That’s it.
Madlori: People unfamiliar with slash fic are gonna listen to this and go “Oh my God, what is going on in that slash fic?”
Curly: I was imagining how many of our listeners just hit “stop”.
Lyndsay: It might be considered crude or distasteful, but…
Curly: Some people like it, and you know, that’s completely valid. It’s not to my taste, but I will admit – this is actually Reaper’s fault – I saw your artwork for Chameleon and I was like “Everyone keeps talking about this fic.”
Curly: And it was an AU, and I was like “Well, I guess I’ll read it.” And I devoured it.
Madlori: Although technically, Chameleon is not omegaverse.
Curly: I know, I’m saying- it’s not, but it kinda had those kind of qualities? With the bonding stuff-
Reapersun: It was getting there, it was getting there.
Sketchlock: It could be a gateway drug to omegaverse.
Curly: There you go. Yeah so that, dear listeners, is what omegaverse is. (laughter) So there you go. And fluff is the really sort of happy stories that, you know, nothing goes wrong. Angst is when everything goes wrong.
Sketchlock: Or rather, where everything goes wrong and then it goes worse.
Sketchlock: So sorta like Game of Thrones.
Lyndsay: The angst does tend to resolve itself at a certain point.
Lyndsay: I mean- it’s a firm principle of writing. I mean, you have to have your protagonist suffer endlessly, and then suffer more after the endlessly. Until the end of it, and then your protagonist comes through. I mean-
Curly: Or dies.
Lyndsay: I mean Lori- Lori knows about-
Madlori: What? Oh God, what did I do?
Curly: You know what you did.
Lyndsay: You know what you did!
Madlori: Are you speaking of the short story that I wrote in which there is sad things happening?
Lyndsay: You wrote-
Sketch: Oh my God.
Lyndsay: -about water. And you can’t-
Madlori: And being alone?
Sketchlock: Being alone on it.
Sketchlock: Can I just say that I skimmed that and cried. (laughter)I’ve only read it- technically I’ve only read it once, and I skimmed it once, and I haven’t let myself touch it again.
Reapersun: I still can’t even listen to Sorrow.
Lyndsay: Oh God! Sorrow is-
Reapersun: It comes on and-
Lyndsay: I know! I love The National so hard, and- Lori-
Reapersun: It comes on shuffle and I have to skip it, I just can’t.
Sketchlock: I’m glad I don’t know this song.
Madlori: It gets way too much power, I don’t deserve this kind of svengali-like influence.
Lyndsay: Yeah, you do, though. Because actually, I think… from looking it up earlier, you are either the most kudos’d or the most commented BBC Sherlock fic on AO3.
Madlori: Really? Well, I don’t know- I know that for total hits- not Alone on the Water, but Performance in a Leading Role is in the top ten.
Lyndsay: That’s what I’m saying. No, that’s what I’m talking about. So you can definitely speak with some authority on the subject of… hurting people’s feelings! (laughter)
Madlori: I only did it that one time! My other fics are all fluffy and stuff.
Lyndsay: I know.
Curly: And for those who don’t know, um- I guess, Lori, did you want to explain what Alone on the Water was very quickly, so then we don’t cry?
Madlori: Sure. Alone on the Water is a short story that was actually my first fic in the Sherlock fandom. It’s a one-shot in which Sherlock discovers that he has a terminal, inoperable brain tumor and decides to end his own life on his own terms, with John’s assistance, which he then does.
Sketchlock: And it hurts a lot.
Curly: It hurts a lot.
Madlori: It um… yeah. Sometimes I go in and look at the Tumblr tag, the Alone on the Water Tumblr tag, and it’s- it sort of reads like a collection of crying gifs.
Sketchlock: Is it- isn’t it also kind of used by other Sherlock fans to induct new Sherlock fans?
Curly: Yeah, it’s like a rite of passage now.
Madlori: I have heard tell of this phenomenon, I have no personal experience, but I have been told that that kind of thing goes on. I have no knowledge of these practices.
Lyndsay: It has forty-eight thousand, approximately, hits.
Curly: That’s intense.
Sketchlock: Well done.
Lyndsay: You know what my favorite, actually, Madlori story is- (slow clapping) Yeah, clap. Slow clap it out. Is- when we went to 221b Con, Chris, and her book was there in the bound form, it was so-
Curly: I bid on that for the Dash Con thing and I didn’t win it, and I was very upset.
Lyndsay: Oh God, it was so nice. I mean, Lori-
Madlori: I am still completely bowled over by this, I was so amazed. What we’re talking about is, there’s a Tumblr user, Amy, and she does book binding for a hobby, and she bound six copies of my story Performance in a Leading Role.
Lyndsay: So cool.
Madlori: And they were beautiful. I knew she was doing it, but I didn’t really know what they would look like, and when she handed one to me I was speechless I was so amazed. There were two of them that were given away at a raffle auction and then she gave me one, and she just donated another one to the Dash Con auction. So it is just- in fact, I’m looking at it right now, it sits on my coffee table-
Madlori: -and it’s amazing and wonderful and I was just totally humbled by the level of care she put into that.
Curly: Yeah, the girl who won it at 221B Con was so excited. And I think that really speaks volumes to how important fan fiction is in fandom, and how people take it very seriously and are very excited about it. Like this girl – who was adorable and dressed as Bilbo – she was flailing around, it was so great. It was just really great to see.
Lyndsay: She was doing a tunalock impression, to be honest. (laughter)
Curly: Why do you keep bringing that up? (laughter)
Lyndsay: So that we talk about it? No, it was so cute. And not cute in a diminutive, infantilizing way, but in a really cool way. She was really enthusiastic about this piece of fiction that has literary value, and she had it in a bound copy, in a physical book. And it was just really nice to watch that happen.
Madlori: It was really humbling and flattering for me and I know that feeling. Just ask me what I acted like when I got- the lovely Reapersun did some fanart for Performance in a Leading Role. She sent me a print of it in the mail, and the day I got it, I was on my back on the carpet with my legs in the air and flailing and kicking and making sounds that only dogs could hear. (laughter) I know that feeling and I have that too, for art and fiction that is really meaningful to me. And that- fandom has been an important part of my life since I was like, twenty years old. And I’m primarily a writer and how I write and read fan fiction is how I enter a fandom, it’s through the reading and absorbing the fan fic of others and seeing the fan art and seeing the creativity. The creativity product is really the way that fandom speaks to me.
Lyndsay: Reaper, how did you interact with Performance in a Leading role when you made that art for Lori?
Reapersun: Um… well, I’d read it before, and then I went back and read it again, maybe a second time. I don’t know, I’m not sure how to answer the question, it’s just uh-
Lyndsay: Well, answer it however you want, because it’s not meant to put you on the spot, just-
Reapersun: No, no.
Lyndsay: -what you appreciate about that story.
Reapersun: Well, I guess anything with drawing for fan fic is just, it just feels like I want to give something, too, to the author. And sometimes I’m not sure yet if all of them really like to see art of their fics or anything, but it’s always nice to hear that they do.
Madlori: I think we all do. I really think- I don’t think there are any authors who wouldn’t like to see fan art, but that’s just my impression.
Lyndsay: The Venn diagram in my head is really small. It’s like a dot.
Reapersun: Yeah, I don’t know, I guess it’s just wanting to- and also wanting to bring attention. I mean, not that that fic needed attention at all. But sometimes I’ll read some really nice, obscure fan fiction and want more people to read it and enjoy it, and also share something about it that I found really beautiful or some moment that I really loved in it. And I think Lori and I talked about it a little beforehand, and you had an idea of what scene you wanted, right? And we talked about that. So I think a lot of that was- sorry, I lost my train of thought. But your perspective and then my perspective on it, that’s- sorry, I have no idea what I’m trying to say now.
Lyndsay: No, you didn’t lose your train of thought at all, you were being very topical. It was just a question of what inspired you about lori’s story that made you want to make art out of it.
Reapersun: Well we did talk before, about it, so that was kind of the trigger for it. But there’s this whole list of fics too that I would love to do art for and-
Lyndsay: Oh my God, name them.
Reapersun: No no no! I- I stopped having- I don’t- I don’t know. Okay, I read fic every day. This is really embarrassing. But I read fic all the time.
Lyndsay: That’s not embarrassing at all.
Reapersun: Uh, and-
Sketchlock: Bedtime stories.
Reapersun: Yeah, and I’m just looking through dirty stuff all the time, uh, so I could give you the longest list ever of things that I would love to draw for, but I think-
Lyndsay: Do you have a top three?
Reapersun: Oh man, no. I couldn’t come up with that on the spot. There’s a few that I’m reading right now that I’m really into I guess, I don’t remember the names of the authors or anything, but, uh… Seven Moons…
Madlori: Oh my God I love that story! That’s by Ladyflowdi.
Reapersun: Yeah, I really love that one. I keep wanting to draw art, but i don’t wanna jinx it.
Reapersun: I keep jinxing these- ah. I don’t want to be like “I’m responsible for it!” but I feel like I’ve jinxed so many stories with people that just dropped away and never finished them, and-
Reapersun: Like Chameleon.
Sketchlock: It’s gonna be finished! I don’t care what anyone says. I’m still waiting.
Reapersun: It’s like part of me almost wishes someone would finish it, even if she doesn’t come back, but I don’t want to be disrespectful, too.
Lyndsay: There’s a lot of people who just drop out for awhile, you know?
Reapersun: I hope she comes back. But anyway, yeah, Performance. I guess there’s something about the characters in that. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s still very Sherlock and John but it’s this other version of them. It’s- sorry, I backed myself into a corner here. I feel like there’s just all these versions of them in all these different fics, and they have these completely different characterizations, but they still feel very- there’s just something at the core that’s always there, and I feel like that’s- yeah.
Curly: Yeah, I feel like that’s the essence of the AU, the alternate universe fic. You take the characters form the show but you put them in a completely- an alternate universe. so Performance is like, they’re actors. and one of my other favorite AUs is A Study in Winning. I never cared about tennis ever until i read that fic, and now I’m like “Oh my God, Roger Federer.” But-
Sketchlock: You know, there’s a sequel to that one.
Curly: Oh yes, I’ve read them all, I know her. (laughter)
Sketchlock: Just makin’ sure.
Curly: I read them all.
Curly: Yeah, so for the AUs- I just love AUs a lot. Because for me, I don’t like to read casefic necessarily, because it’s too close to the actual show. I want something completely removed but still the same characters, hjst on some new, bizarre adventures. Whether, you know, they’re mermaids or tennis stars, or whatever.
Madlori: Tuna, right Lyndsay?
Madlori: Or tuna.
Curly: Or tuna. (laughter)
Lyndsay: That’s not- I am completely okay with tuna. We had a recent conversation on the BSB tumblr where it was like- you know, everyone’s squicked by different things, and there’s three of us basically: me, Curly and Kafers run the BSB Tumblr. And I am- I thought myself un-squickable, I really did. And then, um… and all respect to the creators, but- baby octo-John came along, and I was like “Don’t bring babies into-!” Octopus… slash… whatever- it wasn’t even the octopus aspect, that was fine, tentacles are fine. I have written, in fact, well-
Madlori: There’s been a surge in tentacle porn lately. I don’t know if you guys-
Reapersun: There has.
Madlori: There’s been like, a Renaissance and-
Lyndsay: It was the baby aspect I was not okay with, and I was like “Don’t bring babies into this”-
Sketchlock: I thought it was supposed to just be, like, chibi.
Sketchlock: Like tiny John.
Lyndsay: I know, it was, but I just looked at it and I was like “that’s- that’s too young. It’s not okay.” And so it messed with me, and then I was like “nope.” (laughter) Tunalock is fine. That’s a tuna fish with a scarf. That’s cool.
Sketchlock: And a speedo.
Madlori: I was so excited when there was a big surge in balletlock a few months ago.
Lyndsay: Oh my God, it’s awesome.
Madlori: For the longest time I have wanted to write an AU like So You Think You Can Dance? dance reality show AU. Like, desperately.
Lyndsay: Do it.
Sketchlock: That would be amazing.
Madlori: I have some other things to finish first before I might actually give it a shot.
Curly: Performance sequel.
Madlori: I know, I have things-
Lyndsay: You have important stuff to do. It’s cool.
Curly: And speaking of important things: Reaper, I have to mention red pants, because it is a legacy.
Curly: And also, as an anecdote: I was there the night at The Game Is On where pretty much the entire Sherlock cast was on stage in London, and I was sitting behind Amanda Abbington. And the question – as a precursor, Mark Gatiss picked all these questions, so all this is actually his fault – he brought up the-
Curly: -the red pants, which is basically – Reaper has created this thing that John Watson wears red underwear. And he started the question and Martin just starts like “I know about that, and you’re all very shocking.” (laughter) I just remember dying in my seat, immediately going on Twitter – I think it’s the most re-tweeted thing we’ve ever had. Of like, “Martin knows about the red pants.” And it just went completely insane, I saw it quoted on Tumblr and everything, and everyone else was tweeting about it as well. But Amanda was in front of me and she just turned around and gave me this smirk. And I was like “Oh my God.” So what do you think about-
Madlori: You know he owns a pair. He has to own a pair.
Reapersun: Oh God.
Curly: Probably, at this point. Because they have, you know, hedgehog plushies and stuff. And she has all these photos on her phone, she showed them to us. And- I mean, what do you feel about the fact that your fan art – I guess, trope at this point – is very well known by the cast?
Reapersun: Well, I tried to answer this before and I just can’t- uh, it’s-
Curly: It’s hard to comprehend, I completely give you that.
Reapersun: Well there’s- first of all, I always say I wish it were something that were more- respectable? Or something that took actual skill, you know? It’s just this weird pair of underpants that I thought were funny and then I drew it a bunch of times, and I made other people draw it, and then other people drew it without me paying them, and- (laughter) it, yeah.
Lyndsay: Well, if there hadn’t been skill in the first place, in drawing them, then they wouldn’t be a thing right now.
Reapersun: I guess so, but I guess there’s that other part of it too that it’s so far removed from me that it’s hard to really be, uh- some part of me is not always overwhelmed by it, too. Because it’s so far- it’s not about me anymore, it’s about this meme that’s kind of outside of me now. So it’s really exciting and weird to hear about things like that, but it’s not usually “Reapersun’s red pants,” it’s always “red pants”.
Curly: Yeah, that’s fair.
Reapersun: So I’m not connected to it on that level anymore.
Lyndsay: That makes sense
Reapersun: As maybe I was. But it’s still really-
Madlori: -like Alone on the Water.
Curly: I was just gonna say, you both have that thing, like the fandom has taken ownership of two of your creations, of Alone on the Water and the red pants, which I think is interesting.
Reapersun: Yeah. It’s still really exciting and hilarious, but… (laughter)
Liz: You should totally make a button or something that says “I created red pants.” So people just know when you go places that-
Reapersun: People don’t believe me! I think I-
Reapersun: I told someone at a convention- a lot of people come up at conventions and they’ll be like “Red pants!” and they’ll be like “Oh, you’re Reapersun, you made red pants!” And then occasionally they’ll come up and they’ll see red pants, and I think one time I told her “Oh yeah, I did that, I made those.” and she just gave me this look like I was the biggest bullshitter ever. Like she just totally didn’t believe me. ‘Cause she didn’t know who I was.
Curly: Do you know who I am!
Reapersun: I don’t want to be that person. It’s- yeah, it’s weird. I get kind of hung up on it sometimes, that people should know who I am, you know? And it feels very egotistical. And then I run into people that don’t, and it knocks me down again and I’m like “Be realistic.”
Curly: I feel ya.
Sketchlock: To be fair, it’s like, you know, Matt Smith going to a convention and telling a Doctor Who cosplayer that they had a good cosplay, and then he zooms off in a taxi and the guy’s like “…Wait a minute.”
Curly: That is a really funny anecdote. ‘Cause they look back and then all of a sudden you see the cosplayer guy holding his head going “Oh my God!”
Sketchlock: So I mean, if it happens to people like Matt Smith and plenty of others, you know, Hugh Jackman- it’s fine.
Lyndsay: It’s all fine.
Madlori: Plus when you’re a fan artist or a writer, it’s not like people see your face all the time, they just-
Curly: That’s true.
Lyndsay: How would they even know who you were? I mean, like-
Madlori: Just by your name badge.
Lyndsay: You could just walk around all day being like “I’m AbundantlyQueer!” You’re like… you’re not. You’re not, really.
Madlori: Yes, because she would probably be walking around too and go “No you’re not, I am!”
Lyndsay: Exactly. And then she would take them down by the neck.
Lyndsay: I’m confident that she would be capable of doing that.
Madlori: Because AQ is awesome.
Lyndsay: Yeah. She’s great.
Curly: But I think that actually is a very interesting thing, about not knowing the faces of all these creations. Not the fact that Reapersun came to our party in San Diego and she didn’t say hello, and I didn’t know who she was so I didn’t go say hello, but I’m not bitter about that at all.
Reapersun: Sorry! (laughter) I was there for two minutes!
Curly: I know.
Reapersun: And I missed Moffat and I was really depressed.
Curly: Aw. Well, serves you right!
Reapersun: I was at the Hannibal panel.
Sketchlock: Oh, I’m gonna cry. (laughter)
Curly: Very tough decisions are made a Comic Con.
Sketchlock: Yeah. I’m just like, “I’ll just not go! Just- no.” I won’t deal with it at all.”
Curly: We are approaching two hours, so I imagine this will probably be a two-parter.
Lyndsay: This will be a two-er.
Curly: It’ll be a two-er. Um, is there anything- do we want to make recommendations? ‘Cause actually a lot of people have asked for recs. And-
Lyndsay: Could we-?
Curly: Les, even, was like- where’d we find this new porn?
Lyndsay: Could we give recs and then, Chris, do you feel like it’s a good idea to talk about some of the more, sort of “oh, I had a real question, about my life, that was kind of difficult.” Do you want to address them?
Curly: The really serious ones, about asexuality and stuff?
Lyndsay: Well, it’s not that serious, it’s just what happened to us at 221B Con, to be honest with you. I mean, what happened to me, anyway.
Curly: Oh, that.
Sketchlock: But we should talk about asexuality.
Lyndsay: Mm-hm. I think we ought to. I mean, as long as no one’s perishing at the moment.
Curly: Should we do a fun, invigorating thing where everybody recs their favorite shit, and then end with asexuality?
Liz: My recs are so terrible, I mean- so, to give Reapersun some credit here, red pants Monday, the tag on Tumblr, is obviously the party time all the time. Not just Monday, everyday. I’d also just give recs to Lori and say, go follow Madlori on Twitter and see when she’s posting stuff.
Curly: Sounds good. And Lyndsay? What are your recs?
Lyndsay: Recs, God, that’s hard. I always feel like people are gonna be angry at me if I actually talk about recs, because I’ve been published. But I don’t know if that’s true or not, but- I don’t know. Um. Okay, here is a brilliant, obscure- by the way, I think that fan fiction and pastiche: identical terms. The same deal, except that – and we’ve talked about this at length, but – pastiche tends to get dollars handed to them. So there’s an author by the name of Candle_Beck, and I’m gonna rec this because it’s not fic that anyone reads enough. It’s gorgeous Warner Brothers Sherlock Holmes verse slash. And the style is stupid-good. So Candle_Beck. Any of them, they’re all painful and so angsty and I love them. I think that’s an author who should- she writes a lot of baseball slash? Which I don’t understand. Real-person slash between various major league baseball players that doesn’t fit in my wheelhouse, but I think her vocabulary and her way of painting images is gorgeous. So there you are. Candle_Beck.
Sketchlock: Alright, this is one that I’ve been meaning to draw for for a long time, but as you all know I’m not the most prolific artist. Or should I say, I’m not good at that at all.
Lyndsay: No, you should not say that.
Curly: That is a lie.
Sketchlock: I just wanna hold too many seals. (laughter) Anyways- I just pulled it up, so I’ll link it to you guys, but the author is Machshefa and the fic is called Touchstone. It’s sort of a magic AU- you know me and my AUs. I actually got into it because of podfics, which are great. And basically the universe it about how when people have wishes or emotions, colors swirl on their skin and it actually manifests itself into a physical gemstone of some sort.
Curly: Oh, interesting.
Sketchlock: Yeah, it’s kind of awesome. That’s the one I’m gonna rec. I love the way that it was written. I really would highly recommend the podfic because it’s pretty well read and there’s music, so that’s nice.
Madlori: I think I might just mention a couple specific things, and then in a general way say that a really good way to get recs is to go to your favorite author, or just anybody you know, on their AO3 account and look at their bookmarks. I often tell people- ‘cause I get asked for rec lists a lot, I get a lot of asks about recommendations, and I don’t keep a discreet rec list. I do recommend fics on my tumblr that I have read and liked, and it’s usually under either the “fic rec” or “fic recs” tag, I’m kind of inconsistent with which one I use. So through that you’ll find them. Also, there’s a Tumblr called FuckYeahJohnlockFanFic, which is strictly for John/Sherlock slash, and on their front page there’s a link that says “favorites”. If you scroll down you’ll find the top twenty reader favorites, top twenty favorites of the various blog maintainers, and that’s a good place to start.
Reapersun: Yeah, I can’t come up with anything specific. I just have literally this huge, long list of fics that I could recommend and I’m looking through it right now and I’m like, “I can’t pick anything!”
Curly: Pick the seventh one on the list, what is that one?
Reapersun: Uh… no. Okay, so my- (laughter) I bookmark some weird stuff, so… I don’t think I can read that one off. I could send a list maybe? I don’t know, I can’t pick them right off the top of my head.
Lyndsay: Is there something you’re reading right now?
Reapersun: Well, I talked earlier about Seven Moons, and I would rec that really hard because I’m really into that story right now. I think about it sometimes, just like… (sigh) I hope it finishes.
Sketchlock: I haven’t heard about this one, what’s it about?
Reapersun: It’s omegaverse.
Sketchlock: No, no, I read omegaverse.
Reapersun: Yes, okay.
Sketchlock: I do, I do actually read it.
Madlori: The one that I’m wishing would update right now is- one of my all-time favorite stories is Be Here Now by Todesfuge. She started writing a sequel to Be Here Now called Kill Switch, which is eight chapters and now it hasn’t been updated in about five months, and she was doing pretty regular updates. I’m also madly in love with Nature and Nurture by EarlGreyTea68, which is parentlock, which I am a sucker for. John and Sherlock end up getting a clone baby of Sherlock.
Lyndsay: This sounds like a problematic event.
Madlori: It’s so cute though. It is really in character and it’s really adorable, and then there’s the romance-y johnlock part. There’s just a million stories that I could talk about, that I love love love, and I’d just be here babbling all night, so I’ll stop there.
Reapersun: I could also recommend Darkling, I Listen. And- what is the name? The Hannibal AU.
Sketchlock: Loss of Flesh and Soul.
Reapersun: Yes! That one.
Sketchlock: I was just gonna pull it up.
Lyndsay: Is that completed yet?
Sketchlock: It is in the work, but Archia is going to finish it. I don’t think it’s gonna be one that’s gonna be suddenly gone, it’s just, she’s busy.
Lyndsay: There’s always those situations where you’re like, “Oh my God, this is a thing,” and then, “Wait, it’s not a thing!” It’s terrible.
Sketchlock: Yeah. So I’m only trying to rec things that are done. I haven’t let myself read Darkling, Listen yet because it’s not finished, so I’ve put that one aside.
Curly: I’ve definitely talked about mine, but yeah, A Study in Winning by Jupiter_Ash. Sherlock and John are tennis players, and it just makes me very happy. Obviously, Performance in a Leading Role. And one that I’ve just started is a giant series, the Paradox series by Wordstrings.
Sketchlock: Oh my gosh, yes. Sorry, I have a lot of feels about that one. It’s one of my gateway fics into the fandom. I think that one also has podfics.
Curly: Yes, because MystradeDoodles goes on and on about them on Twitter.
Sketchlock: Just a note: for those of us who don’t know what podfics are, they’re like audiobooks and they’re great. Because if you don’t have time to read, you can just listen to them.
Curly: It’s audiobooks for fan fictions. So, there you go. It’s super awesome.
Madlori: Lunchee did a podfic of The Blog of Eugenia Watson, which is one of my stories. And I’m not a fan of podfic actually, because I don’t like audiobooks, but I listened to that one and she did such a good job with it, it made me like the story more than when I wrote it.
Sketchlock: That’s awesome. (pause) Am I allowed to rec another one?
Sketchlock: Okay, I just found this one, it’s been awhile since I read it, but it’s A Study In Blue by Writingispurdy. I’ll send you guys a link. Basically, it’s A Study In Pink re-imagined in the jazz age.
Curly: Yeah, I saw your art from that.
Sketchlock: Yeah I am hugely, hugely into that one. I always have my jazz playlist on while I read it.
Madlori: If we’re talking about porn and sexuality and Sherlock, then you have to mention Cure for Boredom which is probably the most famous smutty fic in the fandom. That’s my impression, I could be wrong.
Lyndsay: That is mad smutty.
Madlori: Yeah, it is really smutty, and in an unusual way. And I’ve known EmmaGrant, the author of it, for a long time, since she was writing in the Harry Potter fandom. In fact, I’m proud to say that I helped usher her into the fandom because on LiveJournal she said, “Oh, I’m gonna watch BBC Sherlock, should I?” and I was like “YES.” And then she said, “Oh, rec me some fics,” and I said, I would be delighted to do that for you. So I feel some proprietary pride about that. But A Cure for Boredom is brilliant.
Lyndsay: Does anyone feel a direct need to talk about the other question we got?
Sketchlock: Before that, I just wanna say that the two that I rec’d aren’t actually sexy. They’re just good. Sorry if that was misleading.
Madlori: That’s an interesting comment actually, because it sort of leads into something I think would be a good thing to talk about, which is the role of smut or porny themes in fan fiction. Because I feel like a lot of people who don’t read or write fan fiction believe that all of it is just wall-to-wall smut and it’s all porn, and that really isn’t true. I get questions sometimes about writing porn and the role of porn scenes or sex scenes in a fic, and I always say that when you’re writing a fic, whether it’s a long fic or a short fic, your sex scenes should always serve a purpose, and that your sex scenes can actually do a lot of heavy lifting for you in terms of character development or relationship development. They can really serve to illustrate things that you want to convey about your characters or their relationship of the situation that they’re in. I love a good porn-without-plot as much as the next person, but I hope people know that there is that if you want it, but not all fan fiction, and certainly not all slash, is just all about the porn. Although I love porn.
Sketchlock: That’s actually a great segue into the fic that I wanted to rec that is sexy. I don’t know if you guys heard of this one, but it’s called A Thorough Examination. It’s got a part two called In Depth, and it’s by Emungere. It’s kind of a dark fic, where John is just darkJohn, I guess. There’s a lot of sexy things, but I kind of read the whole thing as a character study. That’s kind of what kept me coming back to this one.
Lyndsay: There’s a certain amount of depth to the relationship that you would like to further explore through sex, as opposed to sex being the point. You’re talking about two people who already care about each other, and then adding sex as sprinkles. And maybe, in a PWP-
Curly: Sexy sprinkles.
Lyndsay: Exactly. Maybe in a PWP, all you’re eating is sprinkles. Maybe they’re all green sprinkles, and that’s great. But most of the time I think that people want to further explore or expand the relationship, and that’s why that’s happening.
Madlori: What was the second question you wanted to talk about, Lyndsay?
Lyndsay: Oh, well there was a weird question- it wasn’t a weird question, it was actually a perfectly- sorry. A regular question initially, and then it turned a bit weird, about why do Sherlock Holmes and John Watson slashers feel the need to create a sexual relationship between the two characters when in fact Sherlock could have been asexual, John could have been straight; is there a specific female urge to slash things? And I said: you watch lesbian porn, so, whatever. It’s pretty. But we talked about this, and the asexual aspect of it is actually something we really haven’t covered. Because you cannot take the character Sherlock Holmes and immediately identify him with a particular sexuality, because he doesn’t have one. We don’t have any information on the subject. So it’s interesting to watch what people do with it, and it’s also interesting to watch how people object to it, and it’s also interesting to watch how people like it, when people do any number of things with his sexual orientation.
Madlori: Whenever anybody brings that topic up and includes the phrase “feel the need”, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. Just because, when somebody asks, “Why do you feel the need to do this?” there is no answer to that question. Why does anyone feel the need for anything?
Lyndsay: Why do you feel the need to eat cheese? Because cheese is delicious.
Madlori: Because cheese is fricking delicious, that’s right.
Sketchlock: I feel like sometimes the answer to a question is simply just because someone likes it. I would say the equation is like to food. It’s like, do you know why you might not like the taste of ? I mean, I don’t like green peppers, I just don’t. Is there a reason why? I just don’t. You know, it’s something like that. Can you explain that? No, not really.
Curly: Yeah. And I think it also needs to be said, that even if a character or a person is asexual, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy sex. It’s not like they don’t actually have sex. They may not feel the need, but they may. I’m far from the person to ever do any sort of psycho-analysis on asexuality, I have no way that I could ever comment on that. But that’s just… People see what they want to see in a relationship, and there’s no right or wrong way to see it.
Lyndsay: But one of the coolest things about the BBC Sherlock fandom and the general Sherlock Holmes fandom, is that you can be attracted to someone you’re very close to, you can be not attracted to anybody, you can be attracted to someone who you randomly met and is a heterosexual pairing. It’s a complete tabula rasa, and that’s a nice thing about the Sherlock Holmes fandom, because we have absolutely no information. So anyone who is trying to sail their ships with cannons loaded at other people’s ships, is unfortunate. Because you just have to- you know, you sail your ship and you do it the way you like it, and then everyone else is perfectly fine with their own armada
Madlori: You have to remember sometimes though the ship thing is not a zero-sum game. It’s not like there’s a finite amount of shipping currency, and that if I take some for my ship that leaves less for your ship. Everybody can ship what they want and see in a relationship what they would like to see. They may think there is canon evidence for it, they may not, they might just be in a total flight of fancy and that’s all good.
Lyndsay: Does anyone think there is a specific canonical reason for the most popular pairings?
Curly: I think it just goes back to what we were talking about at the very beginning. The closeness of Holmes and Watson and their friendship, and how we perceive it in modern-day context.
Curly: And there you go. Mike drop.
Madlori: Well, if you have two characters that you really like and you think are hot, and you would like to see them do naughty things together for purely prurient reasons.
Lyndsay: Oh man, Lori is turning it all back and asking us questions and shit.
Madlori: Well that wasn’t meant to be a question, actually, that was-
Curly: It was more of a rhetorical statement.
Lyndsay: Was it? Nevermind.
Madlori: I can turn it back on you if you want though, bam!
Lyndsay: I thought that went up at the end.
Curly: We did mention this, so I feel less like a riot may happen, that the people who ship mystrade and stuff- Mycroft and Lestrade.
Lyndsay: I don’t get it. Oh my God, I don’t get it! They never talk.
Madlori: But I don’t have to get it. The people who get it, get it, and nobody else has to.
Curly: I think the only reference of them being in any sort of contact was in Hounds of Baskerville when Lestrade was like “I don’t do everything your brother tells me.” Which I know made everyone that ships mystrade very happy. A lot of people ship that, there’s a growing contingent of people who ship John and Lestrade. Irene and Molly is popular. I can totally get on board with that.
Lyndsay: It’s cute.
Curly: It’s like a bag of Skittles, you know? Taste the rainbow. Everyone can get together.
Lyndsay: It’s like “Taste the rainbow” if all the Skittles had sails and they were ships.
Curly: There you go. Skittle ships.