Sunday, September 15, 2019

Interesting Interview: Peter Blau

Peter Blau is a name that Sherlockians hear almost from day one in this hobby.  He is an avid collector, clearing-house of information, and a genuinely nice guy.  I've subscribed to The Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press for years and have corresponded with Peter through a few emails here and always found him to be affable.

But last month I got to meet Peter.  And when I introduced myself to him in Minneapolis, I expected a cursory "Hello, how are you?" and then he would be off to talk to folks more important than myself.  What I got was a man who was happy to talk with anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes and found him coming up to my dealer's table more than a few times that weekend to talk to me about specific issues of The Baker Street Journal, the birthday weekend, John Bennett Shaw, and other tidbits.

But don't just take my word for it.  Peter has been an invested member of the Baker Street Irregulars for 60 years now.  Sure, plenty of folks can do that by living long enough, but how many of them have been so influential and left such a positive impact on those they've come in to contact with to warrant a book about their Sherlockian influence while they were still alive?

So, read on.  And enjoy this month's Interesting Interview with Peter Blau, Sherlockian Extraordinaire.

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”?

I think that a Sherlockian is someone who enjoys the Sherlock Holmes stories, and does something more.  That something can include reading (or writing) Sherlockian scholarship and pseudo-scholarship, reading (or writing) pastiches, joining a Sherlockian society, playing the Grand Game that some of us enjoy so much, collecting, teaching, and on and on.   

How did you become a Sherlockian?

I don't remember anything about reading my first Sherlock Holmes story, but I found the world of Sherlockians thanks to Ben Abramson, who in 1948 persuaded my father to subscribe to the Baker Street Journal for me . . . I started writing to people who contributed to the BSJ, and was delighted when they actually replied.

What is your favorite canonical story?

I always say it's the one I've read most recently . . . in this case "The Missing Three-Quarter" . . . all the stories have something that's both interesting and enjoyable.

Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting?

It was the late John Bennett Shaw who taught me just about everything I know about enjoying the world of Sherlockians. . . and there's a Facebook page for The Friends of John Bennett Shaw that shows just how much he has meant to so many people.

What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?

I enjoy collecting, and of course collecting.

What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes?

My special interest at the moment is in Sherlockian drama . . . stage, screen, radio, and television.

What is one of the biggest changes you have seen in Sherlockiana during your time in this hobby?

There so many more Sherlockians now, thanks to new media and new ways people find the world of Sherlockians.

How did Scuttlebutt come about?

It began as pieces of paper on which I paragraphed gossip to send to John Bennett Shaw, and he did the same.  Then it became "information sheets" with limited circulation, and then (and now) an actual newsletter.

What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians?

Zach Dundas' The Great Detective and Mattias Bostrom's From Holmes to Sherlock

Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?

I've no idea . . . predictions seem always to be wrong when it comes to the future.

1 comment:

  1. This interview was published on my 75th birthday (09/15/2019). I was in Santa Fe visiting Jon Lellenberg and Saul Cohen at Saul’s home. We spent three hours talking about John Bennett Shaw.