Wednesday, February 16, 2011

E. W. McDiarmid: The Cult of Sherlock Holmes

There are a number of recordings or talks that I've come across in the Sherlock Holmes Collections with the title "The Cult of Sherlock Holmes." It must have been a title that was "in the air" for a while or that caught people's fancy. It works as a title, but I don't think I've seen anything come out recently using "cult" and Sherlock together. Its maybe just as well. Cult has taken on a bit of a nasty connotation.

But there's nothing nasty about a new recording I've mounted from the Holmes Collections on the U Media Archive. In fact I think it has a certain innocence and sweetness to it, in part because it was a recording I believe was not really meant to be heard. Its a practice piece by a prominent Sherlockian.

I remember when I was much younger, learning to play the trombone (and later the tuba) that people really didn't want to hear me practice. Of course, when you're practicing the tuba where can you go where people can't hear you. (In my case I practiced in the basement and the whole house reverberated with my om pa pas.)

In this case the practitioner was E. W. McDiarmid. In this recording he's preparing a talk to students at Breck School the following day on the cult of Sherlock Holmes. As Dr. McDiarmid mentions towards the beginning of the tape, following this lecture the students would be visiting the Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota. There's no date on the tape, so we don't know when this was made. But its a sweet moment to hear the voice once again of a former University Librarian and founding member of the Norwegian Explorers.

(photo credit of McDiarmid: Marlin Levison, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

No comments: