Sherlock and the Case of the Upset Fandom with Megan of Oh No! Lit Class!

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This episode I’m joined by the hilarious Megan of Oh No! Lit Class to talk about her favourite detective boy Sherlock Holmes. We examine the adaptations of the most adapted character in English literature.

The character is the invention of Arthur Conan Doyle, lover of fairies and enthusiastic proponent of the Victorian spiritualist movement. He famously resented the popularity of holmes, wishing for more recognition for his adventure stories, so like the second half of the first Sherlock Holmes novel a study in scarlet which we talked about in one of our earlier episodes, desperately seeking Watson. The basic pretence of the stories, for anyone who has missed the sherlock holmes party bus, is that a veteran of the second Anglo-Afghan war, Dr John Watson moves in with an eccentric, dangerous and terrifically gifted ‘consulting detective in air quotes Sherlock Holmes who works and condescends to the police.

The original canon, that is the accepted 4 novels, A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles. And then 56 short stories which give us a nice neat 60 stories as the basis for a whole bunch of great, average and abysmal television and film recreations, adaptations and very vague nods to. The entire works that are included in the canon were released from 1891 to 1927, which I’ll be honest surprised me a little because I didn’t think Doyle made it that far into the 20th century!

What we know about Sherlock from Arthur Conan Doyle:

As far as canon biographical information goes, we have his birth year as 1854, which places him in his late 20s for some of the early works and 60 by ‘His last Bow’

He started taking on detective cases as an undergrad

He has a brother named Mycroft who is seven years older than him and is a civil servant who seems to know where all the skeletons are buried. He also spends time at the Diogenes club which is a gentleman’s club invented by Doyle,

He says his quote ancestors were country squires

His grandmother was the sister of a French painter

We talk BBC Sherlock and Moffat’s special brand of emotional manipulation.

We talk Robert Downey Jr.’s ACTION SHERLOCK and Jude Law’s moustache game.

Love, Actually gets a roasting. For some reason…

The muppets make an appearance because we love some muppet action.

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What we do in the Shadows with Meg from Indoorswomen

This episode I’m joined by Meg from the fabulous pop-culture podcast Indoorswomen. We talked about the 2014 vampire spoof What we do in the Shadows. I love this movie and Meg took part in the Kickstarter to get a US theatrical release of this distinctly New Zealand gothic parody. We completely spoil this movie so if you haven’t seen it before and you plan on watching it, watch it before you listen.

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Every few years a secret society in New Zealand gathers for a special event: The Unholy Masquerade.

In the months leading up to the ball a documentary crew was granted full access to a small group of this society.

Each crew member wore a crucifix and was granted protection by the subjects of the film.

References

The Conversation Review: http://theconversation.com/what-we-do-in-the-shadows-the-nz-gothic-with-sharp-comic-chops-30764

Some History of Gothic Parody: http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119920.001.0001/acprof-9780198119920-chapter-5

 

The Lady Pod Squad and Online Creative Communities

Header Image: Radio love by r2hox tm :CC BY-SA 2.0

Apple says that there are over 525,000 podcasts registered with Apple Podcasts (Locker 2018), formerly part of Itunes, and let me tell you the Apple Podcast registration can be a pain in the neck. There may be many who are just publishing to RSS feeds that haven’t jump through the necessary hoops for Apple Podcast listing.

So if you are one in those 525,000 how do you get people to listen?

And if you are new to podcasting how do you navigate the technical stuff without being sold something you really don’t need?

Creator communities are a great way to crowdsource the information needed to get started on a creative endeavour. There is a multitude of podcast communities designed to not only help by trading promos but also to share advice and collaborate.

Lady Pod Squad was started by Hannah from the Boozy Movies Podcast and it remains volunteer managed and no one directly profits from the squad, although some of the Lady Pod Squad members receive payment of some kind through their own podcast in the form of advertisement, merchandise and donations.

Lady Pod Squad functions as a Facebook Group, Twitter account, cross platform hashtag #ladypodsquad, Google drive and Slack channel.

Below is a tweet that includes #ladypodsquad in a promotion for an episode that features me and another member of the Lady Pod Squad. This hashtag can be tracked so that other Lady Pod Squad members can retweet. However, the easiest way to find other podcasts new episodes to share is on the Slack. The Slack is a workspace that makes it easier to track what new episodes other members have released so that it is easy to share the right ones on Twitter.

Here is another tweet of mine in which we credit the Lady Pod Squad drive for the promo we were able to run for 6 Degrees of Wiki. The promo drive is a great resource for sharing promos that you can download very simply and insert into your show and upload your own for similar inclusion in other people’s shows.

So why do these communities work?

How can they be sustainable when theoretically every podcast is competing for listenership on an increasingly competitive media platform?

The use of the creator communities on social media can be used to “accumulate group experience and knowledge through social interaction and information exchange behaviours.” (Wu, Li & Chang 2016). The exchange of experience, information and ideas result in a net positive for the group. Not only is there an informal skill exchange, but also the exchange of content and marketing between podcasters. The benefits of the creative networking for the individual are manyfold and include not only an improvement in the quality of their own work but also emotional support in the case of the Lady Pod Squad. Users of the Lady Pod Squad attest to the benefits of the creator community:

Female singer by Orion 8 and tatewaki • Public domain • modified by Morgan Pinder

Check out the podcast for more personal experiences with the Lady Pod Squad.

In addition to this Wu, Li & Chang assert that the use of social media to engage in creative producer communities build “individual habits of social learning within various groups; this helps to enhance the users’ creative performance.” (Wu, Li & Chang 2016).

The use of the Lady Pod Squad across media platforms to create collaborative content such as interviews, crossover episodes and content sharing is usually carried out in a reciprocal and mutually beneficial fashion. This is in line with Kaplan & Haelein’s ideas surrounding collaborative projects as a form of social media:

“The main idea underlying collaborative projects is that the joint effort of many actors leads to a better outcome than any actor could achieve individually” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010)

The Lady Pod Squad is just one example of a creative community that exists as a symbiotic network fostering creativity and assisting with social media marketing. No matter what you are creating there is sure to be a network of people out there sharing information and ideas…

Or make one yourself like Hannah did…

‘I guess my unique perspective is that I started this community when I noticed there was a lack of safe space & support for women in podcasting. I found amazing women who felt the same way and together we grew this group into a community. it’s really been an incredible journey and we’ve only been around a little over a year.’

~ Hannah from Boozy Movies Podcast and creator of Lady Pod Squad.

References

  • Kaplan, AM & Haenlein, M 2010, ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.’ Business Horizons, vol. 53 no. 1, pp.59-68.
  • Locker, M 2018, ‘Apple’s podcasts just topped 50 billion all-time downloads and streams’, Fast Company, 21st April 2018, retrieved 18th August 2018,
    <https://www.fastcompany.com/40563318/apples-podcasts-just-topped-50-billion-all-time-downloads-and-streams>
  • Wu, Y., Li, E.Y. & Chang, W. 2016, “Nurturing user creative performance in social media networks”, Internet Research, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 869-900

 

Images

With thanks to the following podcasts:

6 Degrees of Wiki
Amanda’s Picture Show a Go Go
Bygones
Boozy Movies
Pups n Pop culture
Vibrant visionaries

 

Podcast

Music: Kelli’s Number by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 License
<http://freemusicarchive.org/music/US_Army_Blues/Live_At_Blues_Alley/0_-_08_-_The_US_Army_Blues_-_Kellis_Number>

Image: Megaphone, Elegant Themes, GPL, modified by Morgan Pinder
<https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circle-icons-megaphone2.svg#mw-jump-to-license>

Dead Writers Society – Social Media and Posthumous Author Identity

Header Image By  Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Not to brag but I’m being followed by John Polidori, you know the guy that made vampires into an aristocratic phenomenon in the English gothic canon with his novella The Vampyre. It’s a pretty amazing feat as he’s been dead for nearly 200 years. Yes, there is someone out there using the account @johnwpolidori on Twitter to Tweet and Retweet online content pertaining to John Polidori and his associates. Doctor Polidori is one of the most tragic figures of the Romantic movement; perpetually living in the shadow of Lord Byron, eternally striving to create something that would capture the public imagination and eventually cut his own life short after a steep downward spiral.

It makes me incredibly happy that there is at least someone out there ensuring that his name is unforgotten in this age of social media. But if an author like Polidori is still represented what about the original celebrity, Lord George Gordon Byron?

The representation of Lord Byron on Twitter is more complex. Some of those who got in early and grabbed Byronic usernames are using them to promote their own poetry, as unrelated personal accounts, abandoned literary accounts and one successful racehorse. It seems that Byron and his identity have outgrown it literary legacy in a way that Polidori has not. The active Lord George Gordon Byron centric accounts are run by Byron Societies and Newstead Abbey, his former home. There is also one account actively sharing Byron related content that does not seem to have any commercial, personal or academic affiliation, @lordbyron_1824, this would be the closest to the previously mentioned Polidori account.

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All images are in the public domain

But that’s Byron, what about the less celebrated in their time authors, those that are more appreciated now than in their day. Jane Austen for example. Female authors who were not identified by their portraits in their time like their male counterparts are now recognizable (Braun and Spiers, 2016). The female authors are now seen in this new age of social media that allows for the effortless reproduction of images.  Jane Austen has numerous accounts that claim affiliation, or just post quotes daily. These accounts might I add, are more popular than those of Byron.

So why do people still care about these authors, and why are there social media accounts dedicated to continuing their memorialization into an age of social media? Braun and Spiers (2016) talk about posthumous literary celebrity as being about so much more than the body of the artists work, but also of the image that they represent. Byron was a rebel, the first real celebrity, people paid for telescopes to watch him on holiday on Lake Geneva, women sent him their pubic hair and scandal followed him everywhere he went. But as far as an enduring literary legacy goes… well not many people have read his work compared with other less scandalous authors of his time. This is what makes him a character to emulate on social media, not because people are still reading Childe Harold.

Boeuf and Darveau (2017) talk about the power of association with a deceased celebrity; not only are audiences more receptive to messages ‘from’ dead celebrities, but that receptiveness can be leveraged for commercial gain. This might mean that any message purporting to be affiliated with a deceased literary figure with a substantial and continuing social legacy is given greater weight and will inevitably garner more interest than posts from a poet named Geoff from somewhere in Washington. These literary identities give the account a weight that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Users continue to engage with bots that simply spew out quotes from the pages of the greatest literature in the world into the ether, hoping for a knowing interaction.

 

References

  • Boeuf, B. and Darveau, J., 2017. Posting from beyond the grave: An autopsy of consumer attitudes toward promotional communication in a posthumous context. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(4), pp.892-900.
  • Braun, R. and Spiers, E., 2016. Introduction: re-viewing literary celebrity. Celebrity studies, 7(4), pp.449-456.

The Devil’s Dictionary

Today we are going to dabble in The Devil’s Dictionary. 

Our Twitter is @thefrankenpod

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20180731_220458_0001-1598354645.pngThe first English dictionary is commonly thought to be compiled in 1755 by Dr Samuel Johnson of Blackadder fame. But that’s not really true. There were plenty of dictionaries before him. The most accurate guess at the earliest English language dictionary was one written by Robert Cawdrey in 1604 which was the first to include definitions albeit of only 2 thousand four hundred and 99 words. Put in contrast the Oxford English dictionary today has over 170 thousand words. The key difference between Dr Johnson’s dictionaries and the ones who came before him was the number of definitions and the level organisation.

Johnson dedicated his life to lexicography and died in 1784. 83 years later Ambrose Bierce, a writer of excellent gothic and supernatural short stories embarked on the serialised satirical exploration of the dictionary. Some of these definitions popped up in his weekly columns in ‘Town Crier’ and ‘Prattle’ and also in his personal letters. He wasn’t the first to take on the idea of a satirical dictionary, but Bierce certainly was dedicated to building and collating his own glossary of irreverent definitions.

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was born June 24th 1842, in an Ohio settlement called Horsecave. One of 13, all beginning with the letter A. Marcus Aurelius Bierce (1799–1876) and Laura Sherwood Bierce Had 13 kids named Abigail, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, and Ambrose… and that’s how you make sure one of your kids is going to write some kind of dictionary. It just so happened that this particular kid was a bit of a smart arse as he grew up.

As a kid, he was a printer’s devil, which is a little guy who mixes ink and generally getting things to the printer as quickly as possible because of those printing presses and typesetting dealies technical term, are massive and complex. He was 15 at this point and the printing operation he worked at was for an abolitionist paper called the Northern Indian

I’m terrified of delving into military history as always so here are the bare bones facts that we need from Bierce’s military service:

He fought in the Union army from the age of 18 until 24

He sustained a pretty serious head injury and some serious psychological damage

He saw some shit and it definitely had an impact on his writing. The horror of war was something he would come back to multiple times during his time as a writer.

He got married and had 3 kids. The marriage came to an end when he discovered letters to his wife Molly from an admirer, the separated in 1888, but did not divorce until 1904, 16 years later. She died the next year. His 3 kids were 2 boys, Day and Leigh and a daughter named Helen. Day and Leigh both died as young men, Day duel a romantic rejection and Leigh’s alcoholism and a nasty bout of pneumonia got the better of him in 1901. So by 1905 it Helen was Ambrose’s only surviving child.

Ambrose is typically framed as a Soldier, Journalist, writer and hardened cynic.

We will be revisiting Bierce’s amazing short stories at some point and there is an earlier episode of the Frankenpod which is just me reading A Vine on a House which is one of Bierce’s shorter stories. He is one of the wittiest, creepy and concise writers of American gothic fiction. He had a misadventure in Mining getting involved as a manager without experience and at the end of the mining boom so that didn’t go well.

Bierce at the age of 71 went to Mexico while it was in the middle of a revolution. He joined one of the armies as an observer, the army of Pancho Villa. The last known correspondence was from Chihuahua in Mexico and then poof! He vanished!

And that, in very broad strokes is the life of Ambrose Bierce, and if anyone knows a lot more about Mr Bierce and would like to come on the podcast I’d love to talk to you!

Three things you need to know about The Devil’s Dictionary

  1. It is intensely self-indulgent
  2. It is quite misogynist
  3. It is incredibly racist.

Particularly when it comes to Native Americans and Aboriginal people.

Thanks to the U.S. Army Jazz by for making the song Kelli’s no. available in the public domain.

Promo from Not another X Files Podcast

 

#romanticism – Romanticism and Social Media

John Keats was a brilliant poet and a darling of the Romantic age and whilst his legacy has been somewhat eclipsed by the formidable shadow of Lord Byron, many snippets from his works have slipped into common usage. For example “A thing of beauty is a joy forever’, that was his, it’s from a poem called Endymion. I’m not sure how many people are aware of its origin, I certainly wasn’t until I stumbled across the poem in a collection in my high school library.

 

Today I follow The Keats Letters Project, The Keats Shelley Society and The Keats Foundation on Twitter and daily, depending on the congestion of my feed, I often get a random daily dose of Keats.

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Image: Kate Ter Haar CC BY 2.0

In this post, I’m going to focus on the works of the Romantics and the place they have posthumously found within social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The titular ‘#romanticism’ will immediately bring up results for an ocean of tweets of the work of the great romantic painters, including the works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (pictured) generally tweeted by accounts that identify as the artist’s name such as John Everitt Millais @artistmillais.

 

Rebellious and subversive poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge & Percy Bysshe Shelley never lived to see their writing form become old hat. There was no possibility that they could comprehend moving from romanticism to modernism, modernism to postmodernism and so on. The likes of Shelley, Byron and Keats have drifted in and out of favour and in this age of social media we might expect that these tired authors might be firmly relegated to history. But then came social media and literature nerds like myself and countless others are consistently brushing off the metaphorical dusty pages, canvasses and plates to not only digitise but memorialise and adapt pieces of the Romantic movement. Below is one of my tweets using the #romaniticism hashtag to share an edited image from a literary annual featuring works of Romanticism for young ladies to promote my podcast that talks about a work of Romanticism by Mary Shelley, one of the great authors of the Romantic movement. And that my friend is convergence.

Vast quantities of books from the Romantic period have been digitised by libraries and archives, they have been transcribed by volunteers at Project Gutenberg and read by volunteers at Librivox. That information or the books they are derived from is then used by others to write blogs, record Youtube videos, make podcasts and create those very pretty and ambiguous inspirational quotes.

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Now it’s your turn… by Michael Coghlan by CC by 2.0

All or most of these creations are shared on social media. But none of this happens without the human desire to make mediums collide and take their experience of a text into a different realm. These sharable, likeable and Tweetable formats that we squeeze these often weighty, sometimes iconic texts and images may have the effect of diminishing the work, but it can also have the effect of adding to rather than subtracting from the narrative of the artefact; that is it can make a static piece of art into something that living, morphing and consistently reimagined. Ross & Sayers (2014) highlight the way that modernist texts can become alive through social media and other internet-mediated discourse and a similar argument could be applied to the preceding Romantic movement.

 

As Wright suggests in ‘Battle of the Books’ (2009) this new digitisation of literature means that ‘the book is becoming a fluid entity that can flow into a number of vessels’ and the same is true of poetry and art. The appeal of these particular works of the Romantic period is surely due in no small measure to their status in the public domain, leaving these iconic works that helped pave the way for western cultural heritage as we know it freely available for anyone to read, dissect and reimagine.

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Ebook by Daniel Sancho by CC by 2.0

As Wright suggests in ‘Battle of the Books’ (2009) this new digitisation of literature means that ‘the book is becoming a fluid entity that can flow into a number of vessels’ and the same is true of poetry and art. The appeal of these particular works of the Romantic period is surely due in no small measure to their status in the public domain, leaving these iconic works that helped pave the way for western cultural heritage as we know it freely available for anyone to read, dissect and reimagine.

Listen to a quick podcast on Romantic Gothic literature, impermanence and Percy Bysshe Shelley

References

Images

  • “Portrait of John Keats” by Joseph Severn, 1821, Retrieved from the National Portrait Gallery.
  • “Laptop” by Bonzo, Open Clip Art under CC BY 1.0.
  • “Joan of Arc” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1882, Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.
  • “Now it’s your turn…” by Michael Coghlan under CC BY 2.0, Flickr.
  • “Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all ye know on earth and all ye need know. – John Keats” by Kate Ter Haar is licensed under CC BY 2.0,
  • “ebook” by Daniel Sancho is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • The “Ozymandias Collossus”, Ramesseum, Luxor, Egypt by Charlie Phillips is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Music

  • Evermore by Kai Engel is licensed under an Attribution License 3.0 License.
  • Kelli’s Number by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain 1.0 License.

The Keepsake, Mary Shelley and Eboli

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In this episode of The FrankenPod, we talk a little bit about one of Mary Shelley’s works written for the literary annual The Keepsake. We already covered the ‘Mortal Immortal’ and Shelley published 7 or 8 stories in The Keepsake.

The 1828 edition of The Keepsake

The Keepsake was produced with a particular audience in mind, the relatively new reading demographic or young women. The increased literacy of women in the 19th century, despite the fact that their wandering wombs might be affected by scandalous novels and stories.

But basically, it was still considered relatively dangerous to be exposing women to literature, particularly literature that was scandalous, scary or not completely pious and religious.

Basically historically society has had a pretty dim view of educating women and allowing them to read. Because god knows what they might do if they gained an alternate world view from the ones prescribed by their husbands, fathers and brothers.

Back to keepsake. Because it was aimed at young women it was bound in red dress silk and had lots of pictures.

It was published between 1828, so 10 years after Frankenstein, until 1857, so 10 years after Sweeney Todd on The FrankenPod timeline

The publication was founded by Charles Heath who was actually an engraver, so those amazing pictures?

 

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It took some work but he was able to get Hurst, Chance, & Co to publish the first volume in 1828. It was edited by William Ainsworth who created Dick Turpin the highwayman and very unhelpfully does not list the authors of the stories and poems. We do know that one of the contributions was made by Percy Shelley, William Ainsworth and Felicia Heman who wrote the poem ‘Casablanca’ which starts

The boy stood on the burning deck,

Whence all but he had fled;

The flame that lit the battle’s wreck,

Shone round him o’er the dead.

Which is this gut punch of a poem about a kid who dies on a burning ship, but that I encountered as a child by my eternally classy father teaching me this version:

The boy stood on the burning deck

Picking his nose like mad,

Rolling it into little balls

And throwing them at his dad.

Anyway there a good 10 or twenty stories and poems in the 1828 The Keepsake that don’t have clear authorship which is a shame. The engravings, however, are all attributed, mostly to Charles Heath.

The Percy Shelley contribution was published posthumously presumably by Mary Shelley, he had drowned 6 years previously.

We do have the authors for the second edition in 1829.

They included Sir Walter Scott, Coleridge who wrote my favourite piece of Albatross inspired literature this is the last bit from Part 1 of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—

Why look’st thou so?’—With my cross-bow

I shot the ALBATROSS.

But he hadn’t written that yet, that was 5 years away.

Other attributed authors included Felicia Hemon (Listed as Mrs Hemon) Wordsworth, Southey, so some pretty big names.

The 1829 edition also brings us the first 2 contributions by Mary Shelley – Ferdinando Eboli (pronunciation?) and The Sisters of Albano

There is much more information on Ferdinando Eboli.

It follows the story of Count Ferdinando Eboli who is saying farewell to his loved ones before leaving for the Napoleonic Wars.

At this point, I should probably tell you that the publication The Keepsake was said to showcase second-rate fiction from first-rate authors…

Reviews can be nasty.