A Brief History of The Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore
The Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore had its genesis in a dinner get-together in mid-2001, when five former members of The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis met again for the first time in several years. All had left their former scion years previously, after it had, for various reasons, ceased to meet their Sherlockian needs. But in getting together again, they realized once more how enjoyable was the fellowship of other, congenial Sherlockians. Why not, they thought, start a new scion in Indianapolis? (After all, Chicago has 12 scions.) They began planning for the new scion's inaugural meeting, choosing the first Saturday in January 2002 to coincide with the weekend of Holmes' birthday, per conventional Sherlockian scholarship. The name for the new scion was a natural for several reasons, not the least of which was one founder's use of Barker--Holmes' Hated Rival upon the Surrey Shore--in an unpublished scenario he'd written a decade and a half earlier, as well as a special fondness for a character who was apparently so accomplished a sleuth that the Great Detective himself considered him skilled enough to dub "rival."
The kick-off meeting of the Hated Rivals attracted a columnist for the local newspaper, The Indianapolis Star, who subsequently wrote a column on Holmes and local Sherlockians (and in which the fledling scion even received as much coverage as "the big guys in town"). The second Rivals meeting, at a Victorian-era jailhouse/museum, in nearby Noblesville, IN, attracted new Sherlockians--people who'd never before attended a scion meeting. Subsequent meetings were held and scheduled for other Indianapolis locations with a Victorian connection, including the Indiana Medical History Museum, the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, and historic Crown Hill Cemetery, resting site of poet James Whitcomb Riley.
Our Philosophy: The philosophy behind The Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore is simple: To provide a forum and a place of fellowship for anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes in all--or any of--his various manifestations, whether in the original stories, the movies, pastiches, parodies, plays, TV shows, games, graphic novels, or any other medium in which the World's Greatest Consulting Detective has ever been portrayed. After all, the original stories written by Conan Doyle were considered by him to be popular literature--nothing particularly heavy or profound. Based on his output, we believe that, if Doyle were alive today, he'd be writing his stories in the popular genres of today. So why exclude any manifestations of the detective?
Furthermore, unlike some groups (and we're not necessarily referring to Sherlockian groups either), we eschew stuffiness and exclusiveness. No one need be a Sherlockian scholar or purist to join this scion. No one need fear enjoying, for example, Sherlockian science-fictional settings or other cross-genre offerings. (After all, Doyle himself was also a science fiction writer, as have been many prominent BSI members, such as Issac Asimov.) All one needs to become a member of the Hated Rivals is to enjoy Sherlock Holmes and his adventures in any form--or even just the Victorian world and times in which he lived. The Rivals plan to meet approximately six times a year--whenever possible, in Victorian settings--and to offer information not only about the Master Sleuth of Baker Street but also on various aspects of the Victorian Age itself. (Various meetings, for example, have featured talks on grave robbing in the 19th century and Afghanistan during Victoria's reign.) Finally, and most important, the main goal of The Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore is to have fun. (And truly, what better reason can anyone have for reading, enjoying, and celebrating Sherlock Holmes.) The Rivals welcome all who share their philosophy.
And if you're still wondering just where in the Sherlockian Canon we got the name for our scion, you need only check out the original Holmes story "The Retired Colourman" in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
P.S. for the picky among us: We know that it was "upon" the Surrey Shore in the original story. But as the "up" is unnecessary grammatically and for understanding (no one's going to think that he was "down on" the Surrey Shore, after all), we choose to elminate it.
Although several current Hated Rivals first met and helped conceive the idea for the new scion, two were instrumental in actually founding and getting the Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore underway. We therefore take this opportunity to introduce you to . . .
Bill Barton (see photo) has been an avid Sherlockian since reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in a Children's Literature class in college. (He'd enjoyed the Rathbone and other Holmes movies prior to that, but had previously read only one of the original stories in a high-school English class.) Bill attended his first scion meeting in December 1979, a Victorian pitch-in dinner held by the recently revived Illustrious Clients. He joined the scion and, over the next several years, served twice as secretary/newsletter editor (Lomax) and once each as vice-president (DeMerville of Kyber Fame) and president (The Illustrious Client), during the revived scion's heyday. (He never missed a meeting for 11 years, and not many for the next seven years that he remained a member.) During that period, he wrote, directed, and performed in four short Sherlockian plays for the scion (parodies such as "The Scion of Four" and "The Final Pablum," three of which were collected in The Plays Afoot! (now out of print). He also contributed a short pastiche to The Clients Case-Notes and co-edited The Illustrious Clients Fourth Casebook, to which he contributed a "fill-in-the-blank, do-it-yourself" pastiche.
Bill's other Sherlockian activities include writing much of the script for a progressive mystery play, From Dark Pages, presented at Halloween for many years at the Victorian-era Morris Butler House, in Indianapolis. (The first two years of the production, he played the part of Sherlock Holmes.) He also served as News and Reviews Editor for most of the run of The Sherlock Holmes Review. An award-winning role-playing game author, Bill slipped Sherlockian references into all the games and supplements that he wrote (for example, The Deerstalker Nebula in a science-fiction Space Atlas), and he even designed an entire supplement for Chaosium's H.P. Lovecraft game, Call of Cthulhu, that he set in the 1890s London of Holmes: Cthulhu By Gaslight. His modern RPG, So Ya Wanna Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star! A Rock 'N' Role-playing Game, includes a Sherlockian-themed band, Sherlock & the CDs. (For information, check out his Web site at the link at the bottom of this page.) He's currently helping with a Victorian worldbook (GURPS Gaslight) for Steve Jackson Games. Bill also played standup bass for several years in a folk band playing 19th-century music, and as a songwriter has penned several Sherlockian songs, most of which he's performed at various scion meetings. His other interests include biblical history/prophecy, Fortean phenomena, Japanese Kaiju, Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, and science fiction in general. Future projects include a compilation of his Sherlockian ephemera and a cross-genre Victorian novel featuring a certain London detective. (Hint: It's not Lestrade!)
Bill's most recent Sherlockian endeavor was to co-found Indianapolis' newest (and only independent) scion, The Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore, in January 2002, with several other former members of his previous scion. He currently serves as president (Barker) of the Hated Rivals and hopes with the new group to recapture some of the fun and variety that characterized the Illustrious Clients during the 1980s.
Bill holds a BA in English Composition/Journalism from I.U.P.U.I. and, in addition to his occasional freelance writing, has worked professionally for more than 20 years as a copy editor, including three years at The Saturday Evening Post in the early '80s. He currently works as a Senior Copy Editor for Wiley Publishing (formerly IDG Books Worldwide/Hungry Minds, Inc.), where he's edited many titles in the popular For Dummies and CliffsNotes lines of trade and technical books. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Vicki, and three cats (none of which have Sherlockian names, although he and his wife did own a big, long-haired tabby named Watson, who lived to the venerable age of 15--quite respectable for a cat).
Mimi DeMore (see photo) joined her first scion society in the early '80s and remained a member for more than a decade. After leaving that scion, she retained her love for Sherlock Holmes and fellowshipping with like-minded Sherlockians -- which finally led her to co-found Indianapolis' newest scion, The Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore.
Mimi has also expressed her love of the Victorian era and of history in general in her college and career choices. She holds a degree from Indiana University in Anthropology/Museum Studies and has 14 years of experience as a museum professional. She is currently finishing work on her MA at Ball State University and spent last summer teaching archaeology to underprivileged children in Indianapolis and working part-time at the Billie Creek History Museum. Prior to returning to school, she worked for several years as a conservation technician at the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, in Fishers, IN, where she helped to preserve its more than 25,000 artifacts and worked with the new 1880s village, as well as earlier attractions. She's also worked at the Indiana Transportation Museum, in Noblesville, and at the Victorian-era Morris Butler House Museum and the Indiana State Museum, both in Indianapolis. While at the Morris Butler House, she produced, directed, and helped plot the script for the From Dark Pages progressive mystery play during the first two years of its production.
Mimi now serves as vice-president (Russell) for the Hated Rivals and handles most of the publicity chores for the scion. She hopes to make this scion as inclusive as possible, not only for all family members who wish to attend, regardless of age, but also for those with as wide a range of Sherlockian and Victorian interests as possible. Mimi currently lives in Muncie, IN, but spends much of her time in the Victorian era, both in her studies and in her cherished hobby.
We'll also be profiling other Hated Rivals in the weeks to come, so check back regularly!
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Check Out Bill's Gaming Web Site
Bill Barton Games