Wednesday 23 December 2020


Upstart Crow
4x00 Lockdown Christmas 1603 [Christmas special]
Apparently it's been two years since the last episode of Upstart Crow, which amazed me when I realised it because, well, it doesn't feel like it's been that long. I have nothing more insightful to add to that — it's just weird.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020)
[#258 in 100 Films in a Year 2020]
A proper Christmas film for Christmas Eve Eve.

Die Hard (1988)
[5th watch]
Rewatchathon 2020 #45. Another proper Christmas film for Christmas Eve Eve.


The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories
Part V: Christmas Adventures
edited by David Marcum
The Case of the Ruby Necklace by Bob Byrne
The Jet Brooch by Denis O. Smith

Every Christmastime for the past five years, I've intended to actually read this collection. In 2016 (when it was published and I bought it), I actually started it... but only managed the introductions (of which there are five! Slightly excessive, I feel), and first piece, a poem, of which my only comment was "oh dear". This time, I re-read the intros, but skipped the poem.

Sadly, the first story didn’t give me any more confidence about the quality of these pastiches — it’s scattered with blatant Americanisms and bits of prose that are on the surface adequate but lack refinement. It’s also not a particularly engaging or remarkable mystery; and the Christmas setting is entirely incidental and not even atmospherically evoked. Either this is just a misguided way to start the collection, or it really shows just how special Doyle’s writing was (or perhaps the kind of authors who focus on pastiching someone else’s characters are at the same level as self-published internet fan fiction, even when they appear in a professional-looking printed volume).

Fortunately, the second of these stories was considerably better; not without issues (the climax, where everyone is happy to blurt out every little detail with only the mildest prodding) was a little lacking in stylistic nuance for my taste, but the mystery, its investigation, and its solution were all neat enough.

There are a total of 31 pieces in the book, which would be perfect for filling December — if one started it on time, which, obviously, I did not. Let's see how much further I get before the season ends and reading these feels inappropriate...