Sunday, 7 September 2014

Love yo' self Day 4

Only I would choose to break away from looking in mirrors while doing a show centred around mirrors.
"Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?"

Snow White - one of the the oldest and best loved fairy tales of all - one of Disney's first, hundreds of adaptations all over the world. Age 3, life lesson learned: IF YOU LOOK IN A MIRROR AND LIKE WHAT YOU SEE, YOU MUST BE VERY VAIN AND EVIL, LIKE THE WICKED QUEEN.


"Don't be vain" crops up time and again in mythology. Self-love, according to the old tales, can only lead to arrogance and delusions of power - both of which are undeniably bad things - but what I do think has happened is that enjoying one's reflection has been damningly tied to very negative character traits.  I know several people who celebrate themselves and their bodies without going around poisoning people they think are prettier than them with spiked fruit. One of our most basic teachings is being challenged here, but it needs to be challenged - because we've ended up with generations of people feeling that enjoying the way they are and liking how they look somehow makes them a bad person.

Life without mirrors so far has been pretty eye-opening and not a little revealing of what really happens in the back of my head when I go to look in the mirror. I'm suddenly very aware, in the moment when I decide to take a look or not, that the reason is I'm going to look for something to criticise. It's a little obsessive-compulsive, in a way. My love for myself is horribly conditional. "If I look like I've lost weight, then I'll love myself. If I look like I've put it on, I'll hate myself." My anxiety has been quite difficult to handle the past couple of days, and I do think it's partly down to the fact that I've taken this huge habit, this excuse to love myself or not, away. I want to love myself no matter what. I want to love myself whether I'm overweight or underweight or in-the-middle, whether I lose a leg or start getting wrinkles or go blind. There shouldn't be any conditions, and there are - that's what needs to change.

The bathroom mirror is conveniently at waist-height, the sly thing, so that one is particularly difficult to ignore (it's obviously a family mirror, so I can't really cover it up) and I keep slipping up there. I will try, if I catch myself looking, to ignore whatever it is I'm thinking and breathe in what I see and accept it with the sense of unconditional acceptance I'm after.  I'm certainly more aware already of how I'm feeling physically - what's achy, am I hungry, am I thirsty, do I need fruit or to eat a big meal - I'm finding it easier to listen to what my body needs, as opposed to what I think it needs.

Until next time, \

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Love yo' self day 1: Breaking the habit

In a fit of exasperation, I put the following status up on Face-ache this morning:

"I am going to experiment. Thank you, people who keep telling me "you've lost weight? That's amazing! I'm so fat and ugly." I really appreciate you unloading your body consciousness off onto me, while I'm trying to break the habit of obsessively checking my reflection in the mirror for any sign of weight gain that I've had since I was 16... As if weight gain is the ultimate sin. Funny how if you lose too much weight people start to tell you you're looking too thin? 
SO. Until this time next month, I am breaking away from mirrors. I will cover up my full length mirror, and carry on eating when I need to and exercising as much as I like. I am ELIMINATING unhealthy body scrutiny for a whole month. I will try to stick a short blog up every day with my findings, and various arguments against body shaming of ANY kind. STOP YOUR HATING! If you don't like something, change it. If you're happy to way you are and someone tells you you shouldn't, tell them to *drum roll* Fuuuuuuck off."

When I was sixteen and doing my BTEC in Musical Theatre, my year had an obsessive, intense, all-consuming obsession with being Skinny. Ribs and abs scored major brownie points. (You weren't allowed to eat the brownies, though. Hurr hurr hurr).  I've been on the curvy side all my life, and never really noticed or minded, as a child. It wasn't until a classmate of mine came into school and went "Mum says if you can pinch an inch, you're too fat." And thus it began. 

I spent the last six months of my first year at college living off pinches of fruit, and every spare waking moment looking in the mirror. Measuring, comparing, pinching, learning to hate - though at first I thought the act of starving myself  was an act of utmost care.  Inevitably - because I don't have the sort of body that works best at so low a weight - I put all the weight back on and then some, and the sense that I had somehow failed - as a dancer, as a female, as a human being - was overwhelming and crushing. 

Living to look a certain way is torture. Exercising and dieting with a sole goal of weight loss is torture. Everyone fluctuates from day to day. So weighing yourself is torture. 

My personal aim is to once again reach that childlike state of unconditional acceptance. This is my body, I know how it works, I am grateful for it. I want to stop looking in the mirror and wondering how others see me, and start looking inside for how I see myself. At the beginning of this year I stopped exercising to lose weight, and started exercising because I enjoyed it and to take care of my body as a whole, and it's done wonders for my mental health. 

So, my rules (and anyone else's rules if you want to join in) are simple - 
*Cut the compulsive mirror-checking. Completely. For one month. I may use a hand mirror to do my makeup for shows because otherwise I'll end up looking like Ronald McDonald.
*Eat what you need to eat. As much or as little to get you through the day, so long as it's balanced.
*Drink more water. EVERYONE CAN ALWAYS DRINK MORE WATER. Even fishies.
*Exercise in a way that compliments my lifestyle and interests. I think I'd rather stab my eyes out with a bassoon than go for a run, but I could Zumba for days and be happy the whole time. So I shall do more twerking and less jogging. 

I will try and keep this blog rolling over the month. You can look forward to such titles/structured rants as:

Namaste xxx

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

"Tall and sexless" - On Beth 'Baby' Warren and the perils of being the Eldest Child.

Of all F. Scott Fitzgerald's women - any of his characters, in fact, regardless of gender - very few are naturally blessed with the dying art of Common Sense. America in the 20s was not a time or place for studying life too closely. One cannot party hard when one is sitting down to three hours of family negotiations to stop everyone killing each other. And party hard they did - I must admit, when being told to study The Great Gatsby at A Level I thought I'd hate it, because it shares this "to-solve-this-we-shall-party" philosophy with another book I found mind-numbingly tedious (coughPride and Partying Prejudicecough).  It must be said, the goings-on in Fitzgerald's soirees are much spicier.
[Note to self ~ Subject for future blog post: Ten novels which could have been improved with Champagne.]

For Dick and Nicole Diver of Fitzgerald's last full novel Tender is the Night, the stakes are much higher in the gamble that is extravagance. Nicole's fragile mental health cannot cope with the additional layer of delusion the wealthy folk of the 20s adorned themselves with. There could be no hope for a schizophrenic living among people who thought it somewhat fashionable to maintain beauty and brokenness.

A good job, then, that Baby Warren is different from the outset. Dick somewhat scathingly labels her the "dutiful sister" but that is what she is, through and through.  Baby's life has not been devoid of hardships - she was engaged to be married to a soldier who was then killed in action, and thrown over by the man she tried to love again. She has not let those things beat her into the arms of drink or delusion, as we see happening with Dick and Abe. Terribly unfashionable of her, terribly boring. Her Father subtly but tellingly mentions her in a throwaway comment as "an older girl... and there was a boy who died. but Nicole..." But Nicole indeed. The sort of child that everyone paled in comparison to - bright and beautiful, with the charm and promise of fun that fit so well with the new era on the horizon.

Baby is in an impossible position. She can see her sister's deterioration, whereas Dick sees only his own. But what sway does anyone have over the lives of their brothers or sisters? In my experience, very little indeed - and it is especially difficult for the Eldest to find their place in the balance once the youngest turns 18 and the family structure is broken.  Any advice or support we might provide will never, ever hold the gravitas our Mothers had, yet our duty to Be There is unquestionable. Our siblings may need us, but they don't always want us, and we in turn just cannot give them what they need. We have something to prove to our siblings in a way that goes far beyond the natural, trivial power struggles that go on between peers at school - The first child needs to earn their status, be it in attitude or their work to avoid being forgotten when something newer and cuter comes along - and any child born thereafter needs to earn the right to their own personality.  My poor sister had a hell of a time, having to follow someone as rigidly well-behaved, studious and boring as me.  I will never, ever forgive the teachers at our secondary school for doggedly referring to her as 'Paula's sister' for the first couple of years.

This sense of status is not an expectation, but a necessity, and totally natural behaviour as human beings. There is a sense of pecking order within us whether we like it or not. And as was the case with my sister's school days, when stupid people get put in positions of power assumptions are made and egos are bruised, which makes us fight harder.

Baby is accused of meddling when the Diver's marriage and Nicole's health both begin to disintegrate.  I would call it intervening. That is our primary function, as Older Siblings. To observe. We have had the advantage - and, at times, disadvantage - of watching you grow up, little ones. We have begun to not understand the reasons for your tantrums. We have played along when our parents lied about Santa, and felt guilty about it.  We have watched you swig a beer and found it a little frightening. Most of all, we have been deeply and inexplicably hurt when you sought advice from someone who isn't Us. We may grumble and get annoyed, younger siblings, but we have watched over you in the most agonizing way possible - seeing the inevitable break ups, break downs, and general upsets in between, seeing them all coming from a mile off but we were not able to do anything because, ultimately, it is none of our business. If we choose to, we can do what Baby did and jump in if and when the situation gets out of hand. We will fix it for you and then you will tell us to bugger off and leave you alone, as Nicole does.  You can swan off to anywhere in the world, lose contact and drink your inheritance, and you can come to our door bedraggled and hungry and, because we are helpless to really help you, we will let you in and give you tea and cake. We Eldest can do absolutely nothing, except, perhaps, know you better than you know yourself.

Tender is the Night runs from March 20th - April 13th at the Lord Stanley in Camden. Wednesday - Saturday at 7.30pm with a 5pm show on Sundays. Tickets can be bought from

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Good morning.

Rigorous as these past couple of weeks have been, what with starting rehearsals for a new show, instrument lessons and getting back on the dance bike, it was quite possibly a rare display of impeccable timing on my part which prompted me to take a hiatus from Facebook two weeks ago on Thursday. I've been quiet on Twitter, too, although that was more from a lack of time in the first place.

As it was, things on my particular News Feed were getting a little fraught.  I have noticed more than once that when we are faced with disaster or tragedy, quite often the very best of people shines through in the heat of the moment (Except for those who slow down to get a good look at accidents. You people are THE WORST). The recent (extreme and unusual) floods have turned the local community into a swarm of Blanche Dubois-es. Helpless, lost, and miserable, relying On the Kindness of Strangers to ensure that they, at the very least in some cases, can sleep under a roof at night.

In the same way that truth of heart and strength of compassion flourishes during such times, that little blue button with it's innocuous-looking 'f' peering up at you from your iPhone presents you with the opportunity to say "What's on your mind?"

Putting that inviting little phrase into the Status box was the Worst. Idea. Ever.

Aside from the scaremongering that comes with any potentially perilous situation, what with facts being misunderstood then misquoted then misquoted again then put as someone's status, we had those who, if we are being brutally honest, felt they hadn't quite gotten enough of the action.  Some of those very lucky folk in the area who did not have water lapping at their door or creeping up on them via the overflowing toilet ("That's where it gets you! Sandbags are no good when it comes up through the loo!" - My Dad) were feeling Left Out. A Thing is happening! It is not happening to me! I must fix this!

It's one of the many facets of human weakness. We want to be included. It's in our nature, and responsible for many a mountain that started life as a molehill. The thing is with Facebook, it's a very passive-aggressive way of causing a fuss. No one has a good old-fashioned argument any more. I scream, you scream, we say what we feel, we remind ourselves we're basically flawed creatures incapable of being perfect at all times, we make up and eat ice cream. Facebook provides a forum on which to say, frankly and tactlessly, things we would never in a million years dream of saying to someone's face.

[Note: I have been one of the worst Facebook offenders. I know my stuff, y'all.]

I had people who I knew to be very lovely suddenly complaining that people would "Shut up about these floods, already!!!!1!!" followed by a long list of comments from those who had lost their homes and were certainly not going to shut up about it.

And, my favourite, the knights in shining armour - the ones who we would LOVE to admire for their community spirit and large hearts, their unbound generosity and all-round good-guy-ness. We'd love to say "You're great! You inspire me! I'm gonna go help too!" But we find it difficult to love them for their deed when you discover a self-made Facebook shrine to their day of good deeds which takes you three hours to scroll through, complete with comments including "The Army are useless! The police are idiots! Look at all the things I gave away! LOOK AT THEM! Aren't I fantastic? Look, I've even included tinned kidney beans because I'm just That good. SHAME ON YOU ALL FOR NOT GIVING AWAY YOUR FOOD TOO. Here, have several selfies of me pulling distressed faces at the water."

The best and most effective acts of kindness, having been lucky enough to have received many myself, are spontaneous, quiet, and sincere. And do not require publicising.

Facebook is important to me because it allows me to keep up to date with dear friends who are not close by, in some cases not even in the same country. It's great for finding people you used to know, keeping track of loved ones when things get busy, and sharing information without having to ring round everyone. But that's it.  That's all it's meant to be.  It isn't a lifestyle.  People spend every waking moment refreshing their newsfeed. I'll be back on Facebook on Thursday, most likely with a link to this nonsense, and then I'll most likely forget about it again, because I have realised that I am no less without it - I certainly am not missing out on any excitement, I'm following the news with more clarity and when people want to talk to me, they have to call and have a proper conversation.

Let's not only be able to say what's on our minds when Facebook asks us too. It's a lot harder to connect with someone face-to-face, but the results are infinitely more satisfying.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Theatre Review: The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes.

Last night's performance of Dick Backard had to be cancelled - the threat of the tube strike had scared away any prospective audience members (six, that we knew of), and considering our A Capella "trio" would, in fact, have been sung by one person plus whatever I could improvise, it was probably a blessing in disguise for all involved... Amusing though it would have been watching one person sing three harmony lines. Also, audience participation doesn't quite work when there are more people on stage than there are in the seats. Awkward.

I was lucky enough, however, to be invited along to The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes at the Pleasance Theatre, accompanied by Lisa of that most marvellous group of ladies, the Baker Street Babes.

(Warning: Oh, look! A tangent! *Jumps on*)

The play is something of a hidden gem for Holmesians, written back in the 70s. Similar in it's basic set up to The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, Act 1 is a window into the domestic life of our two favourite Victorian gents, Act 2 delves into the darker reaches of Holmes' mind, seeking to explore, to an extent, the torture of genius.

The production as a whole was balanced excellently. It is terribly easy with any two-hander for the action to become too static, or for the set to distract from what is being said. Director Danny Wainwright and Designer Ele Slade sidestep this potential issue very well indeed.  The set - arranged on the revolve so that the seemingly sparse 221b exteriors fully masks the living room within - is fairly simple, a few chairs, a couple of desks. However, there was still a sense of cosiness and the feeling that this is a room which had been lived in - the clutter on the desk, the toppled books on their shelves, set the scene without being too noisy.

And what a celebration of Doctor Watson! Played with that awed curiosity coloured by years of frustration by James McGregor, there is not a Holmesian in the land who will not stand and cheer when any Watson says something along the lines of "I am a qualified Doctor, you know."

We must ask ourselves why on earth Watson puts up with Holmes, and there are two answers. The first is that Watson must be, as he was portrayed for many years, a first class idiot. We establish early on that this is not the case. The other, as Holmes points out both in the Canon and various incarnations, is that he is simply a Good man. McGregor's Waston encompasses all that keep us coming back to the Holmes stories - dedication to his profession, patience with his friend, sporting humour, and a desire to know and learn. The reason why Holmes, the most unsociable man in literature, has been the catalyst for so many friendships is that Watson demonstrates, time and again, how to be a good friend.

And then, of course, there's Holmes himself.  It's difficult to say too much without giving things away here - however it must be said that, as once again we saw in The Secret, we are allowed a little further into the heart of this "great brain" than we would be in a Canonical production. Nico Lennon's Holmes is twitchy and restless, curling and uncurling himself out of his armchair like a cat with springs for paws. As mentioned, a few of Holmes' personal quirks come up in the course of the play and Lennon handles them well - awkward and petulant at times, but never too much, and never without the dignity with which he regards himself. Holmes is a man who carves out his own world - he is not an adapter. At least, not without Watson's guiding hand. And, as a final nod to a man who created his own profession, dips in and out of private police cases at will, and picks up and puts people down when it suits his need for information, we see no limit to his infamous stubbornness is the play's twist...

...Which I will NOT reveal here, because you must all go and see it.

I will say that the references to it being set in 1930 jarred me to begin with.  Hang in there. All will be revealed. Because it IS 1930, we get a Tango. There, all better now.

In short, The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes is close enough the the general familiarity of Holmes as a public figure for someone who hasn't read the books to enjoy, yet jam packed full of the wit, case references and, ultimately, the battle for friendship that is so well loved by Holmesians. Excellent acting and direction compliment a funny, engaging script. Go and see it. Running until 2nd March at The Pleasance Theatre, nearest tube Caledonian Road.

Friday, 7 February 2014

On Panic, and understanding, and maybe we can fix this.

Good Morning.

I am panicking today. Not a hysterical, flapping, screaming panic, but the kind of silent, painful, creeping panic that is so so much worse. In my mind, everything I'm doing is wrong, I cannot satisfy myself that any task is done right (even though most of them HAVE been done right) and I can see absolutely no way in which anything will ever get any better. I will continue to accidentally mispronounce things, forget to fill the dishwasher and feel slightly awkward whenever I speak to someone new until I spiral into a big useless mess, my parents will pass on and my sister will move out and I will be alone and penniless in a cold, desolate bungalow in a road full of pensioners. Today, this morning, that is all I can see in my future. Yesterday, I was happily making plans to backpack around New Zealand.

My senses are heightened to terrifying, razor sharp precision.  I can't bear hearing my own voice being fed back into my headphones with a half-second delay - on any other day it is mildly off-putting and I just shift my earpiece to block the sound. Today I cannot be rid of it. Today my own voice being fed through a tube to Ipswich and back again is frightening and though I lift away the source of the feedback I can hear the whisper of an echo still, can feel the vibrations through the foam on the edge of the headphones.

The slightest noise behind  me makes me jump and whip round in my chair. The slightest shift in light, and I'm convinced someone is standing behind me, peering over my shoulder. My eyes pick out the tiniest blemishes on the computer screen and suddenly these minuscule specks are huge, obstructive, I spend my shift swiping at them. The fear manifests itself in a physical, feel-able pain. It feels like someone is trying to bore a hole between my eyes, all the while tightening the vice around my chest.

I lose my sense of time. I mentally try and plan a whole lifetime of work to be completed in two weeks. I set impossible tasks in impossible timeframes and mock myself when, inevitably, I fail. I sit down at my desk at 6am, and am gripped with cold fear when suddenly it's 10 o'clock at I've only done the work I was supposed to do. I become completely blind to the fact that I was in near-constant acting work last year, and that this year is looking the same way, and that I've lived in France and worked in a circus and was part of a project to bring theatre to rural Romania.  But because I'm not a clarinet virtuoso/amazing cook/multi-linguist/someone's partner, I have failed.

If you're still reading and haven't brushed this off as a self-indulgent rant (which it partly is, and I do feel a bit better now, thank you) you most likely have some concept of that what it really going on. You may recognise these things yourself, have experienced them first hand perhaps, or have had someone close to you go through something similar.
Mental illness is at it's most destructive when it is not understood.   And often, it is most difficult for the patient themselves to grasp what is happening to them.

Every one of us has said or done things when we've been angry, upset or disappointed that has been hurtful to others. Imagine for the moment that, for no reason apparent to you at that time, you live in a constant state of misery. You think you're doing what you love, but you feel so numb you cannot remember the last time you really enjoyed yourself. You can't stand it when people try to talk to you but you yearn for company when they stop. You cannot give an answer when people ask what's wrong and you snap, you cry, you say incredibly stupid things and eventually, the people around you quite rightly leave you alone and get on with being happy.

The problem lies, as with any illness, in symptom recognition. for years people have campaigned for more awareness of the symptoms of the various types of cancer, a heart attack, a stroke.  People are now prepared years in advance for any of these things to happen and as a result many illnesses are caught early, many lives are saved.

I cannot recall "getting" depression. I wonder if I would be able to, if someone had sat us down in a classroom at school and spent half an hour talking to us about how to lead a happy life.  A few NLP and positive thinking exercises during form time.  How much quicker would I have come to the conclusion that actually, things don't have to be this way - if only I knew then that bawling my eyes out every single day for a reason I could not provide was a red flag, instead of assuming I must just not be working hard enough.

Why do our children not know how to listen to their own minds? Why are they not being told how to recognise signs of potential mental illness in themselves and others? How many years of unhappiness, broken relationships, even suicides could have been prevented if only those people had been educated properly? If we are going to strip the taboo of mental illness in it's many forms, we need to start before the damage is done. We need to reach out to the children who will take in the knowledge, so that they can grow up with the tools to deal with difficult emotional times.  We need to instill knowledge of what to do if you are despairing early on, where it will be held for life, and it will NOT be a surprise when suddenly, years of illness down the line, one of them looks back at the amazing times they could not enjoy and the friendships they could not appreciate, and only then, perhaps too late, learns that help can be sought and changes can be made.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Wine and a singing lesson while I type about BBC Sherlock

Well, not a singing lesson, actually, but Tony Pedretti's Group 3 practise session 2. It goes really quite a way along toward the tinkly end of the piano. I am really quite tipsy.  I have high hopes for this vocal workout.

I've had lots of exciting auditions - one of which was for a newly-thought-out production of a gutsy Shakespeare, which I've yet to hear from but got so much out of the audition and had such a fun three and a half hours of geekery it was worth going, even if I don't get it. I'm supposed to be shooting a short film tomorrow - only my second, so suitably terrified - however, I get murdered. I am more exited for the murder-acting than I really should be.

I want to briefly put my tuppence in on reflection upon some of the reactions I've seen to Sherlock S3, just because there have, of course, been some strange and tactless rants going about that I'm not all that keen on, and not for the most obvious reasons.

I am not the sort of person who goes to view or experience something with the attitude of "Impress me." Not even with a take on something so dear to my heart as Theatre. Or Sherlock Holmes. Give me what you have, Thing I'm About To Watch, and I will sit there and give it my due attention and take it or leave it depending on how it affects me.

What I want to get down to is how can anyone possibly be so viciously - and some responses I've seen have been very viscous indeed - comparing BBC's Sherlock to any other version. 
It's set in the present day. Granada were canonical, and went Victorian. Rathbone had forays into WW2 era. Johnny Lee Miller's Holmes joins Cumberbatch's in the present day but, in a departure from all mentioned above, is solving crimes in the States.

Our environment affects us in ways we cannot imagine. From how we dress to the accent we talk in to how we see the world. Sherlock Holmes, as lovers of the book know him, is not what we see in Cumbers or Miller or Rathbone or Downey Jr and though Jeremy Brett's dedication gave us the closest version we could hope for in terms of the Holmes of the Canon - Brett himself says Holmes is better read, and he is right, before any of us indulge in 90 minutes of Sherlock thrice every 2000 years, why not indulge ourselves in those tantalising tales that started everything? Why HAVE they survived? These stories are over a hundred years old. People are STILL buying them. They know who Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are, they know half the stories without even realising.

A character from a book, so fascinating, so closed and enigmatic as Holmes - how can he be pinpointed? Conan Doyle may know how. He would have had a handle on Holmes that none of us could ever understand, as his creator - but we do not have him to guide every adaptation, to advise every actor that comes on the scene.

All we have is curiosity. What if Sherlock Holmes lived in the present day? Would his mannerisms, his language, his methods, be different to the man from the books, swathed in Victorian society? Of COURSE he would. Benedict Cumberbatch is not playing a Victorian man wandering around 2013 London. If he was, he would not be challenging himself as a professional actor.  He is playing a man called Sherlock Holmes, brought up in the late 70s/early 80s, living in the age of social media, who happens to possess mental ability based on those displayed by the Holmes of the books. To sit down in front of the telly and expect Holmes as you have imagined him in the books would be not only setting yourself up for a fall, but denying yourself the possible enjoyment of what is an entertaining, interesting, and beautifully shot piece of television. 

The Downey Jr films are about as far away from Holmes as it is possible to get, in terms of how I see the Holmes of the books. My sister treats me with tickets to see them because we have a hilarious time, with me going "WHAT IS THIS NO WAIT WHY IS HE DOING THAT" and laughing the whole time and she just likes all the explosions. It's a given they were never going to be pure Holmes. It's a gritty Hollywood action adventure.  They tick that box supremely. I come away bemused, perhaps, but not angry.

At the other end of the scale, anyone who knows me would let you know in no uncertain terms of my great admiration for Jeremy Brett.  I trawl Amazon for his non-Holmesian works. There is ALWAYS a Brett-Holmes disk in my DVD player. He brought the detective that fascinated me in childhood truly to life in such detail it takes my breath away, as it does for many people. But his Holmes is still his opinion - what we see in the beautiful series from Granada Television is Jeremy's understanding of who Sherlock Holmes is. What about David Burke and Edward Hardwicke as Doctor Watson? Two supremely different, but no less interesting, opinions of the man Conan Doyle created on paper. 

If you want pure Holmes, stick to the books. That's fine, and safer. But remember, the human race would not have gotten very far if we never asked What If...and the Arts would not exist at all. 
Go open minded into any new thing you experience, ESPECIALLY if it means a lot to you. If you like it, celebrate. If you don't, shrug your shoulders and go back to something you DO like.

Chin chin.