How do you like your eggs in the morning?

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How do I like mine? I’m not very particular about it, as long as they come with a side of FT’s in-depth analysis of the latest financial developments, of course.

Could it ever be a matter of doubt? ūüėČ

Daily Prompt: Adult Visions

Stalking #BenedictCumberbatch

Yesterday I had another visit from a Benedict Cumberbatch fan. I thought little of it to begin with; there is after all a steady stream of visitors for that particular set of stories. Yet there was something that did not sit well with me about this particular reader: the manner in which they had formulated their search. So here is what I have to say to my accidental visitor.

 

To whom it may concern:

While I appreciate your custom, let me make one thing clear: this is not an information hub for Benedict Cumberbatch’s whereabouts. In truth I am astounded that in searching for his address you should have ended up here. How many pages of Google results¬†did you have to read through to reach my¬†post?¬†Don’t answer that. I was sufficiently intrigued to retype your search terms and give the engine a try, but in all honesty tired of¬†scrolling through for a glimpse of my blog’s signature after the first five pages came up empty. That must have been one epic search.

For the length of a moment I thought that perhaps you were looking for a way to send Benedict some fan mail. However, since you bypassed the information on offer on Cumberbatchweb, I had to drop that particular line of reasoning and conclude that it was his personal address you were after. Ahem.

If my powers of deduction have failed me, feel free to circumvent what follows. If not…

There is a very good reason why people – and celebrities more so – keep their personal contact details under wraps. Beyond a simple desire to be able to step out of one’s¬†front door without having to wrestle a crowd of nosy strangers, there is also the matter of risk to one’s bodily security to take into account. Yep. I do refer to stalkers.

The term may be often attributed to fans in a jokey manner, but the reality of being stalked is no laughing matter. Take it from someone who has been unfortunate enough to have experienced it, and that without the label of a celebrity in toe: it is downright terrifying.

As a writer, I may occasionally indulge in borrowing London¬†settings for a meeting with a fictionalised Cumberbatch. I may even go one step further and share knowledge of his actual preference of a place if, and only if, that information is already public knowledge. You will not find on this blog his (or anyone else’s) home address,¬†phone¬†number or personal email address.

So… If you are in the mood for a laugh or a little Benedict-day-dreaming, feel free to stop by¬†whenever you have the time or inclination. Otherwise, I’m afraid I can’t help you. Nor would I be willing to if I could.

2nkul5dIf you remain undeterred beware, according to Tim Walker, Mr. Cumberbatch has been known to request the services of our be-helmeted police service to ensure that his privacy would be respected. Better not let it come to that.

Cheerio.

Which pub does Benedict Cumberbatch drink in?

I fill my cup with as large a measure of amusement as the world can provide, fond as I am of a good chuckle. Every now and then, the WordPress search engine will provide just the right dose.

There is a lady out there, so desirous of meeting the elusive Batch, that she decided to take things into her own hands and seek him out at all Englishmen’s favourite watering hole: the pub. I can’t help but admire her tenacity and feel a little guilty in her supposed disappointment when Google thought it would be a lark to send her to my blog instead.¬†Try typing “Which pub does Benedict Cumberbatch drink in” into the search engine and you’ll see what I mean.

Benedict may very well have patronised Soho’s “the Lab” in the past. I wouldn’t know. Perhaps our lady will be lucky to synchronise her visit with Hollywood’s darling. After all, stranger things have happened.

Having had my laugh for the day, I am rather in the mood for a good deed. So what do you say, dear readers. Shall we help this vixen find her crush?

Benedict Cumberbatch having a drink at the Roundhouse in London

Dear Anonymous,

If you are reading this, then you have not yet given up on discovering Benedict’s favourite pub. I’m afraid I can’t help you with specifics, although if you happen to be in London, you could always give pub crawling in Hampstead a try. I hear they have some delightful ales and a predilection for auburn-haired clientele ūüėČ . I would recommend half-measures if you plan on doing the job thoroughly or else I will be accused of encouraging irresponsible drinking.

Best of luck with the hunt!

Cumberbatch and I | Reconciling the Past

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A welcome back gift in the guise of parody song curtesy of the Kavalkade Krew:  Cumberbuns ~ The Satire & Parody News Desk!.

I am told that one ought to consult a GP before taking their daily dosage of Cumbarbatch to avoid non-prescription side effects such as blushing, heavy breathing and fainting fancies, so approach with care. He is ch-armed and dangerous. Still… the Krew will be at hand to help if any of the above befalls you. ūüėČ

Enjoy.

January’s Jousters

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This is the magic of the written word. A simile has the power to transform an otherwise pedestrian (?) post into a knight, and since we had quite a number of those tricksters this month, it’s a tournament to boot. Look at them take to the field, determined to unhorse each other with their blunted lances. Although I have it on good authority that one or two of them have managed to sneak through with rather sharp tips. Or was it tongues? I forget.

So, let’s get to it. Who made it to the top and whose helmet got the better of them this January? Here is our line-up complete with coats of arms.

2060-end-of-the-worldAt number ten enters¬†Apocalypse. This tale is a sorrowful one, where foresight is both a gift and a curse. This is what fellow bard Chris Nelson¬†had to say: “This is a powerful poem ‚Äď almost a commentary on the agony of immortality. It‚Äôs scary enough how we become desensitised to tragedy by age without the prospect of seeing out millennia. If there were immortal beings looking down on us would they, after all this time, empathise with our plight?”

feministJust ahead in ninth place we have cheeky entry that offers the audience a the quickest way to find out the answer to the following question: Are you a Feminist?¬†“Thanks for the gem!!! It has brought me and several others big smiles,” said¬†cakeleevannila. Let’s hope it can do the same for you.

Sherlock-dressed-as-French-waiterThe eighth contender comes curtesy of the Let’s Talk Opinion series in conversation with¬†thedailygrime¬†and¬†ventures into Arthur Connan Doyle territory: That‚Äôs Elementary, my dear Watson. No. Wait. It‚Äôs¬†Sherlock!

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“A great, great post for the super busy blogger. Thanks for sharing” says prolific writer and blogger¬†Erik Lehman¬†of¬†our next January jouster¬†Danger¬†Blogging:¬†a Let’s Talk Opinion post exploring the dangers bloggers expose themselves to on a daily basis. We have our knight for the¬†seventh place.¬†

 

sherlock-series3-e_2779858bIn a surprising turn of events, we have a second Sherlock contender for the top ten jousters this month. A review of The Empty Hearse takes sixth place.¬†I stand by it: “I blame the hype as well as the extended wait. Two years is a long time for a build up. Perhaps I expected too much and was bound to be ¬†#Disappointed”¬†

THE WOLF OF WALL STREETNow for the top five! The Wolf of Wall Street comes fifth after a somewhat raunchy introduction on the BBC Breakfast show. Unexpected unmentionables at 9am will certainly make for a different kind of cereal and it also prompted some strong reactions both in favour and against.

protest-against-mumbai-gang-rapeAlthough¬†Rape | A World¬†Pandemic¬†comes forth in terms of views this month, it takes first place for the discussion it engendered.¬†Iceman¬†named it¬†A ‚ÄúMust Read‚ÄĚ today.¬†Another reader¬†scottishmomus¬†shared it and commented:¬†“I have no words for what is here. Please read.”

benedict_cumberbatch_03Is it possible for a full month to pass without a certain Mr Cumberbatch making an appearance in yet another Vic Briggs dreamscape? Perhaps it is, but we’ll have to wait it out. For this January sees the alienesque knight and his steely steed return to your screens in The #BenedictCumberbatch | An Unexpected Meeting.¬†He takes¬†third place,¬†and readers have already requested a sequel. Let’s hope he’ll oblige.

 

Man_Vs_Woman_by_joshnickersonThe runner-up this January, taking home the jousting silver, is a classic battle of the sexes. In¬†Men vs Women | Crossing the¬†Divide yours truly crosses the proverbial lance with none other than¬†OM.¬†Here is what¬†Winifred M. Reilly¬†had to say: “This post was just what I needed.¬†Hilarious.¬†I didn‚Äôt resonate much with OM‚Äôs complaints, tho amusing to hear him gripe.¬†Your wit is priceless. Loved the weight lifting bit.”

 

Nadine DorriesAnd for the gold? We have been told repeatedly that the general public is apathetic when it comes to politics. That may be so, yet it would seem that we still want politicians to be held to account, especially when they are in charge of the country. Xenophobic Tory MP Nadine Dorries blames immigrants for recent UK floods is our jouster of the month.

This is all from the Top Ten Shards this January. If I got you in the mood for a little jousting, remember: you receive one point for breaking your lance on your¬†opponent’s chest, two points for breaking it on¬†their helmet, and three points for an unhorsing. Farewell!

Meanwhile… somewhere in London | #VB009 Webisode

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Call it serendipity. A story can find its beginnings in a random tweet and months later it is still going strong.

Some time ago Kavalkade asked a question I was reluctant to answer so I sidetracked with the following:

“I could tell you, but then I’d have to …”

After a few back-and-forths I said my goodbyes and added a throw away remark about a target than needed to be ousted urgently.

So began the Krew Kapture saga with yours truly starring as Crown Agent extraordinaire 009.

Although Kavalkade has full artistic licence and all the dialogue in his Webisodes are his own creation, every now an then I will add a line or two, moving the story along. He has kindly incorporated my catch phrase “Crumpets!” and even introduced Cumberbatch to attempt to distract my alter-ego from accomplishing HQ missions.

If you are curious to find out his latest musings on the subject, please follow the link below.

#VB009 Webisode.

Alternatively, you could find the story on Twitter under #VB009.

All the best from the London HQ,

Yours surreptitiously,

009

Auburn Dreams

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Hopes painted auburn by auspicious winds swathe nigh,

Are yours like dreams now in reality enshrined.

For you have made your luck ‚Äď the world is yours to take,

Enfolded in the flutter of a coat, with starlight twined.

 

Many a fellow journeyman was since forgot,

The fragile beauty of a life for others played.

Perhaps you will escape the critic’s sharpened tongue,

Their grueling pens will learn to charm, turn to expedient aid.

 

The road you tread is not an easy one and long

Will be the time until you find respite and may

Resolve to bargain for yourself another life…

The lure of adventures new, ‚Äėtill then all kept at bay.¬†

Daily Prompt: The Luckiest People

#BenedictCumberbatch | An Unexpected Meeting

“Sure I came to see your play.”

“How come you didn’t stick around after?” he asked

“Something came up. Sorry.”

“I know exactly who that ‘something’ was. I’m surprised at you, Vic.”

It was Friday. James and I were having a drink at the Lab after work. I hadn’t seen him at all in the New Year, what with his constant rehearsals and my writing commitments leaving little time for social encounters. So when he called earlier that day to ask if there was any chance I may be free that evening, I did not hesitate. Call it a guilty conscience.

“Sorry. What?”

“You haven’t mentioned him in two hours,” James said, watching me over the rim of his Pornstar Martini.

“Is this a guessing game or will you tell me who you mean?”

He sipped from his glass, took his time replacing it on the counter and glimpsed around the bar to ensure that no one was listening in.

“Cumberbatch, who else?”

I nearly choked on my vintage Mulata. Just like James to introduce the topic when he knew full well that it would set me off-balance. I had to tread carefully. How much did he know? There were those pap snaps in the Saturday edition, but even if he saw them… My face was out of focus as I disappeared behind Ben’s towering frame.

“You’re getting a reputation, you know.¬†Aren’t you going to tell me what happened?” he insisted, when I pretended to be too busy with my drink to answer.

“There is nothing to tell, James. Honest.”

“I see.”

He ordered another round and changed the subject, but I could tell that he was brewing something. I’ve known him for long enough to be certain that one way or another he would find it out.

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It was James’ West End debut. His first night on the big stage. There was no question about my not being there.¬†When the curtain went down I headed to the stage door to wait for him. I sparked up and was leafing mindlessly through the programme when a familiar voice disturbed my musings.

James was right. The something that came up was Benedict. I did not expect to see him at the theatre that night, nor did I expect to… I suppose all things Benedict do tend to be rather unexpected of late.

“What did you think of it?” Ben asked.

For a moment I thought it was a trick of the light. What was he doing there?

“It was… good I suppose,” I said.

“I didn’t much like it either,” he smiled and asked whether he could borrow my lighter.

“The lead is a good friend of mine,” I said,¬†somewhat¬†peeved.

Alright. It wasn’t the performance of the century, but that is rarely the case on a first night. I was sure that with a little trimming here and there the play would do just fine. In all fairness I felt rather guilty discussing it with anyone, before I had a chance to speak to James about it first.

“I got your letter.”

I froze. Dropped my cigarette. Felt the blood drain from my cheeks. My throat constricted.

“You are mistaken, I’m sure,” was all I managed to say.

I avoided his eyes, lest he would read the truth in mine. Fumbled through my pockets for another cigarette; when I finally found my pack it was empty.

“Have one of mine,” he offered.

I took it. Needed something to keep me occupied. Wished James would hurry the f*** up. Perhaps Ben could sense the disturbance he’s caused, or perhaps he needed some time to consider my answer. In either case, I was glad to continue in silence.

“I know it was from you,” Ben said after a while.

“What makes you so certain?” I couldn’t help asking.

“Every writer has a signature phrase… or expression. It was an easy enough deduction to make.” That knowing smile again.

“I think you’ve taken your ‘getting into character’ a little too far, Sherlock,” I laughed, my mind gone into overdrive. A signature. I had a signature phrase. What could it be? How on earth could I not know about it. I must’ve read and re-read that letter a dozen times before sending it. It was supposed to be anonymous and yet…

“Give us a smile, Benedict!”

Damned paps. Where did this one come from? I pulled the scarf up to cover my face just in time. The flash left me momentarily blind. Next thing I knew I was being dragged away from the scene at full speed.

“Wait! I’m supposed to wait for my friend. Ben, wait!”

“We need to get out of here,” he said, speeding up his pace.

I stumbled and nearly lost my footing, but his clasp on my elbow was strong enough to prevent my falling over. A few minutes later, he was handing me a safety helmet. I was about to protest, but he would hear none of it.

“Look. We have to talk. You’ll meet up with your friend another time. Or do you fancy seeing your face all over the dailies tomorrow?”

Ben got on his bike. I wavered. James will never let me live this down, although… what he doesn’t know…

 

Daily Prompt: Blogger of Repute

That’s Elementary, my dear Watson. No. Wait. It’s Sherlock!

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with thedailygrime

“I‚Äôm not an uber Sherlock fan, so I didn‚Äôt bother watching the first episode of the new season until a few days after it had been aired. So I ended up reading the reviews before seeing the program for myself. The reviews were what is euphemistically called ‚Äúmixed‚ÄĚ, which is another way of saying that the first episode was universally panned.

The thing is though, even before watching the first episode, I didn‚Äôt understand what the reviewers were talking about.” The Game Is¬†Afoot

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The full title of thedailygrime‘s review is The Game Is Afoot ‚Äď How The Critics Want To Sink Sherlock And Why I Think They Never Will, and if you’ve been keeping up with all things CumberVic on this blog, you will understand why I couldn’t help myself. Just had to read the review, and once read a reply begged to be written.

You see… my last Benedict Cumberbatch post inadvertently added me to the nameless hoard of critics who have met the¬†Empty Hearse, first episode of Sherlock the¬†Third, with a good old battering by¬†the proverbial pan. I am ready to¬†admit however,¬†that an even greater disappointment than an underwhelming return of the show would be its cancellation. I certainly do not want for this series to end up being Sherlock’s Titanic, so I am glad to find that there are many out there who are enjoying Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat’s latest offering.

I enjoyed thedailygrime‘s style in taking on the reviewers and decided to examine the evidence in consulting detective fashion and add my own¬†deductions to the mix.

Let the games begin!

I’m afraid there will be¬†a few¬†SPOILERS in what follows, so if you haven’t watched The Empty Hearse and want to hold on to that element of surprise, read at your own peril. I’ll do my best to keep them to a minimum, but can promise no more than that.

tdg: “They talked about far-fetched explanations for Sherlock‚Äôs faked death. I thought ‚Äúsurely everyone was expecting that?‚ÄĚ”

I’m with¬†tdg on this one. Far-fetched explanations were not the problem. Dramatizing fandom’s theories as to what went down on that roof in The Reichenbach Fall finale was fun to watch, yes.¬†However, it did feel like the writers were pandering to the fans instead of getting on with telling the story at hand.

I also rather enjoyed watching Scotland Yard‚Äôs former forensic expert Anderson’s guilt-ridden antics in this respect, with one exception. If you’ve seen the episode you will know which one was over-acted. Yep. That’s right. That oh-so-dramatic moment when Anderson latches onto the walls, ripping off those crazy notes he’d been wall-papering over the last two years. It was too much of a good (?) thing. And this brings us to the next point:

tdg: “They also said it was confusing. Well, it‚Äôs a fast paced detective program. It‚Äôs meant to be confusing, surely?”

An astute viewer, I dare say, will not be confused by any narrative, no matter how many twists it may have and however fast-paced it may be. They will be stumped however when the pieces of the puzzle do not fit together, even when they finally reach the end and have the big picture.

That last reference to Anderson was a clear example of that. It lacked finesse and it was somewhat confounding. Here we are with Holmes and Watson, in the deepest darkest bowels of the underground, attempting to disarm a bomb that is about to make mincemeat of all of Her Majesty’s Members of Parliament and the Houses themselves (admittedly, judging by the usual number of MP absentees, there might’ve been fewer victims than the wanna-be terror-plotters may have hoped for)¬†and suddenly we a wrenched back into Anderson’s layer for an impromptu Sherlock confession on how he had faked his own death two years earlier.

Was this supposed to be Sherlock telling John about how he faked his death and why, via Anderson?¬†Or… is this Sherlock’s memory of¬†a former¬†meeting with Anderson kicking in for some incomprehensible reason at a cliff-hanger moment? Or… did the director realise during the edit that he’s run out of places to plonk this into, and decided that¬†it was as good a time as any for the big reveal? I’ll guess… the latter.

It did make for confusing viewing and, instead of increasing suspense, it¬†only increased my levels of frustration. Several of the transitions from one scene to the next suffered from the same inexplicable disjointedness. They¬†should’ve¬†been handled better.

tdg: “And there was the question as to why Sherlock faked his own death anyway. Well, you could try asking Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that. He invented that particular twist. You can‚Äôt blame Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat for that.”

It’s good to see that tdg and I are on the same page again. I did not require The Empty Hearse to understand why Sherlock had faked his death. Moriarty had destroyed his reputation and, to completely demolish his nemesis, he had all (well… almost all) of Sherlock’s associates at gunpoint. To save them, Sherlock had to die. Mystery solved.

It was the “how” that required additional attention and I felt that the episode gave sufficient scene time to the question. I only wish that final reveal had been better placed.

tdg: Why would Sherlock fake his death? Well, he‚Äôs a narcissistic psychopath.”

I beg to differ.¬†Sherlock is not a narcissistic psychopath. He is a¬†highly functioning sociopath ūüėČ Will not squabble re his narcissism. He does rather fancy himself, moustache or no moustache.

The final mystery: Why does thedailygrime¬†think that critics are attempting to¬†sink Sherlock and why¬†won’t they manage it?

Well… I recommend that you read The Game Is¬†Afoot¬†to find out. I can’t speak for any of the other critics, but I beg to be absolved of the crime of which¬†I stand accused.

Come to think of it, I wish I had delayed watching The Empty Hearse and read the onslaught of “mixed” reviews first. It may have tempered my expectations, and perhaps… I might’ve been put on the defensive and watched it afterwards determined to like it against all odds. Alas. I fear that since¬†even my lingering obsession with the lead¬†was unable to rob me of my critical prowess,¬†I may have lamentably¬†reached the same¬†conclusion: Deduct again. Deduct better.

*

Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)