The Pickled Mushroom

Fresh Cherries & Cocaine | June 17, 2009

After the business of the last weekend I’m glad to relax a bit. It was Japan Day in Düsseldorf, a huge annual event, and there was a skirt to be sewn for the lolita meet-up I was going to attend. It was fun and I saw many absolutely gorgeous outfits and met really nice people. There was a fashion show on done by CD Japan, featuring two drop-dead gorgeous outfits by Victorian Maiden and Beth. Also, a freeze flashmob! It was a bit unorganized though, but maybe it’ll be better next year.

Now that it’s over, I’m happy sitting back and reading. As posted yesterday, I read my way through Body. Leben im falschen Körper by Christine Fehér and am now devouring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the complete novels and short stories in two volumes. I’ve started reading the first book before and got as far as The Adventure of the Crooked Man before I stopped reading for some reason – I think it was during a holiday and cannot for the life of me remember why. Right now I have finished A Study in Scarlet which I think is absolutely brilliant, and am at the beginning of The Sign of Four.

I adore the old-fashioned language, all the “my dear fellow” and “I dare say”, the foggy streets of London filled with cabs and street urchins, the sitting-room fireplaces and gentlemen. It takes me right back in time and makes me wish to travel into this London that is so morbid and homely at the same time.

It also intrigues me how closely light and dark go together. Holmes, while being highly intellectual, sensible and a master of deduction, is also arrogant, almost cold, and sharp. Not to mention his cocaine addiction, which I have to confess fascinates me immensely. I have the deepest respect for Watson’s disdain of it, seeing that in the times of Holmes cocaine was freely available and not considered unhealthy in any way, so Holmes’s dependency on his “seven-per-cent solution” thrice a day is not thought of as bad by society in general.

Watson in general is a wonderful character that is reduced way too often to a clumsy dimwit, another Oliver Hardy to make Holmes look even more intelligent by comparison. While it is true that he lacks the sharp skills of observation and deduction that Holmes possesses, Watson is in no way lacking in wits, he simply cannot win if compared with his companion. (But then, who can?) He himself has considerable skills and knowledge and is a renowned medical expert, which I think speaks of his qualities. He’s also the filter through which the reader may see Holmes without being put off by his cold sharpness.

Just last night I read an excellent essay about the two as a possible couple, and while this is of course debatable, there have been a lot of scholarly studies, essays and analyses concerning Watson and his women, Holmes and his lack of women, Watson and Holmes. I personally quite like it since having read a few good texts on the subject. To each their own, I suppose.

In philosophy class yesterday we talked about Peter Singer and what he says about vegetarianism being the way to go. Since I am almost vegan now (I do still eat products with dairy or eggs in them occasionally, but try to avoid them) I had to explain myself again to classmates as to why, etc. While I have no problem with that, I do find it amusing how often I am asked, “What do you eat?” Heaps of stuff, actually, but nobody seems to believe me when I say that I eat lots of yummy things everyday without having to resort to animal products. Strange, that. (Mind you, I was actually munching on a delicious vegan muffin while explaining, so… I don’t know, maybe they didn’t consider muffins a good example of nice foods. I can’t fathom why.)

Today my grandmother went to the market and bought fresh cherries and strawberries. I love strawberries, but cherries are more expensive and one of my favourite treats! There’s nothing better than reading a good book or essay and slowly eating up a great bunch of sweet, fresh cherries.


  1. Oh, Sherlock Holmes muss ich auch dringend noch lesen…
    Das mit dem Koks ist so ‘ne Sache, die damals wirklich weit verbreitet war (ein Charakter in unserer Steampunk-P&P-Runde ist auch stark abhängig), ich stell’ mir das stellenweise ziemlich schwierig vor.

    Comment by hedgefairy — June 17, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

  2. We like Peter Singer because he’s an Australian AND because he has the most bizarre take on ethics.

    Comment by Eilemi — June 20, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

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