Introducing…the Baker Street Babes

baker street babes

He’s a high functioning sociopath on the BBC. A recovering drug addict on CBS. And a Steampunk super-hero on the big screen. He’s even been dead once – way back in ’91. Note, that’s 1891. The biggest mystery surrounding Sherlock Holmes these days is the amazing amount of life left in a character who first appeared on the scene in 1887 and in 2013 is, well, everywhere.

Why does Sherlock Holmes keep rising from the dead?

It must be for the babes.

The Baker Street Babes.

Taking their name from Mrs. Hudson’s famous 221 B address where Holmes and Watson found lodgings, the Baker Street Babes are a cross-Atlantic phenomenon in and of themselves. (London and New York are their hub cities.)  They are made up of young women in their mid-20s who dig the great detective – and have much to say about all things Sherlockian. They do that in a remarkable podcast they jointly produce – and which Asbury Pulp is now pleased to share with the Jersey Shore (at the bottom of this page).

The smartly-produced podcasts each revolve around a different theme or discussion. The Baker Street Babes write of themselves, “We love Sherlock Holmes and we love having well informed, but also quite fun discussions… We’re all young and we’re all females, but we’re all die hard Sherlockians/Holmesian.

“It’s a demographic within the Sherlock Holmes fandom that is new and growing and doesn’t yet have a voice. We hope to become that voice and we want to prove that we’re not just going to coo over Robert Downey, Jr, and Benedict Cumberbatch, as lovely as they are, but that we know the canon and want to have discussions about it as well.”

It’s all the more surprising because Sherlock Holmes could never be accused of being a ladies man. (That was the much-married Watson’s department.) In fact, the emotionally detached detective was ever only really beaten badly at the great game by…a woman. Irene Adler – properly referred to as THE woman.

Nonetheless, the Baker Street Babes are on the case – and they don’t lack for material. Besides the original 56 short stories and four novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – called the canon by Sherlockians – Holmes is as much a part of pop culture today as he was when he appeared in the pages of Strand magazine back in the day.

Benedict Cumberpatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson in Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson in Sherlock

Over at the BBC, and broadcast in America courtesy of PBS, you’ll find the limited series Sherlock with the “lovely” Benedict Cumberbatch as the socially psychotic title character and Martin Freeman, of The Office and Hobbitt fame, as his Boswellian blogger companion. Season three begins filming later this year (after Cumberbatch antagonizes Starfleet as Captain Kirk’s latest nemesis).

On CBS, you can tune into Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes the recovering addict enabled – in problem-solving – by Lucy Liu as Watson. This Holmes doesn’t need to retire to the Sussex Downs to keep bees; he can do some urban beekeeping on a Brooklyn rooftop and run over to the East Village for a new tat between cases.

Both series bring Sherlock Holmes into the 21st century. The current cinematic Holmes envisaged by Guy Ritchie and brought to life by Robert Downey, Jr. bring him into another genre: Steampunk Sherlock – a Victorian-era hero with super-swagger and Jude Law as a sidekick.

Well represented on the screen large and small, the Holmes deluge also continues unabated where it began – in print.

Well represented on the screen large and small, the Holmes deluge also continues unabated where it began – in print.

Last year, an ‘official’ new novel sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate enlarged the pastiche canon of works with The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. The last decade has seen such acclaimed authors as Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon, Caleb Carr and Mitch Cullin contribute literary interpretations to the ever-burgeoning Sherlock Holmes bookshelf, joining numerous other knock-offs, re-inventions, re-imaginings and collections.

And, as 2013 began, Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes, written by psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova, was published to much press attention and critical acclaim. It was the subject of a recent New York Times Op-Ed by the author herself, who the Baker Street Babes talk to in their latest podcast found below.

“We’re getting scientific this episode with Mastermind author and psychologist Maria Konnikova! Delving into the psychology of Sherlock Holmes, we learn all about the brain attic, mindfulness, and whether Holmes has Aspergers or is even a sociopath at all. A really fun and incredibly informative episode wherein you’ll learn oodles and laugh just as much. Maria is joined by Babes Curly, Lyndsay, Kafers, Amy, Sarah, Ardy, and newcomer Melinda!

“Plus, there’s a goodie at the end.

“Maria’s (book) was inspired by her ‘Lessons from Sherlock Holmes series for Scientific American and follows the legendary detective as he explores the workings of the human mind. It is guided by a central premise: That Sherlock Holmes serves as a near-ideal window into the psychology of how we think and is a rare teacher of how to think better than we naturally do. While those who read the book may not become master detectives, they will certainly learn more about themselves, their minds, and their capabilities, and in so doing, will come closer to the Sherlockian ideal of a thinker who knows how to observe, not merely see, the world around him.”

Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova

Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova

It’s the 36th podcast for the Bakers Street Babes, who have been featured on the Today show during the London Olympic games and recently got together in New York City during the Baker Street Irregulars Sherlock Holmes fan weekend. While there they held the “Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet” charity ball benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.

“We owe inspiration for this event to those who tirelessly serve our country, and to Dr. John Watson, army doctor, whose recovery from the ravages of the Second Afghan War once required the help of an extraordinary friend,” they write on their website.

The ball raised nearly $3,000 for Wounded Warrior mostly by auctioning off Sherlockian swag. In other words, a fictional character created in 19th century England inspired a group of young women in the 21st century to help today’s soldiers. It kind of gives new meaning to the phrase “The sun never sets on the British Empire.”

Not a bad legacy for a dude who supposedly died when he went over the Reichenbach Falls in The Final Problem. But then again, we learned in The Empty House that he survived those treacherous waters for the simple fact that he was never in them.

Though how to account for the enduring popularity and fascination with a fictional character who first appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual magazine in 1887 almost defies the one thing Holmes valued above all else: Logical deduction.

As Holmes would say, “We must fall back upon the old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

And the truth in 2013 is that the Baker Street Babes – THE women – are helping to keep the game afoot in a big way.

Give a listen:

- Follow the Baker Street Babes on Facebook. Asbury Pulp will also post new episodes as they are produced and acquaint readers with previous podcasts in-between. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for updates.

Correction: This article was appended to reflect the fact that Holmes is a high functioning sociopath on the BBC, not, as previously reported, a psychopath. 

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2 Responses to “Introducing…the Baker Street Babes”

  1. Olivia
    January 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    He’s not a psychopath he’s a high functioning sociopath. Do your research. :)

  2. Tom
    January 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Sounds like a breath of fresh air.

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