An Irish Weekend

Over the weekend, I went to the Annapolis Irish Festival, an annual event held near Annapolis in mid-July.

This year, the scheduling caused some agony as the festival coincided with Shore Leave‘s weekend, back in July for the first time in a hemidecade, and Carbon Leaf, who are taking a sabbatical year, were playing a rare gig.

As friends were arriving at the Hunt Valley Inn for Shore Leave, I was heading down to Annapolis for a weekend of fun.

There was music. There were bagpipes. There was beer, though not a great selection; the only stout was the Armchair Nitro Stout which I found uninspiring. It was what I needed.

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Friday night’s headliner, of course, was Carbon Leaf.

On drums for Carbon Leaf was Scott Devours, a session musician who’s worked on tour with Roger Daltrey and The Who. He looked like someone who was having the time of his life. The band’s drummer, Jason Neal, recently (as in, within the last two weeks) became a father.

When Carbon started to play, I felt so tremendously happy. They played a nice mix of songs over the two hours. One surprise was “Lake of Silver Bells.”

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Near the end, Scythian came out and joined them for two songs, a ten-ish minute jam on “Let Your Troubles Roll By” and then the rarely played “Oi” from Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle.

I bought the USB stick with a live recording. It has some glitches (three files won’t open and there’s a speed issue on a fourth), but the rest is solid. Totally worth it. Any misgivings I had about skipping Shore Leave were gone.

Saturday morning, before The Annapolis Irish Festival resumed, I checked out a cemetery that was on a triangular piece of land where three busy roads met in Annapolis. While cars whisked by, I took some photos. It’s well-maintained, and I noted there were flowers and other momentos that had been recently left at some graves.

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There was a Greek Orthodox cemetery about a hundred feet away. That one was fascinating as many of the monuments were written in Greek rather than English. I did not take photos in that cemetery.

Saturday morning, there were again bagpipes from Chesapeake Caledonian.

There were a number of bands I saw — Barleyjuice, Scythian, Poor Man’s Gambit, and Cleghorn.

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Cleghorn was quite interesting. They reminded me, sonically, of the 1960s mod rock band The Creation, but with some Pogues influence.

Other than the heat (95-ish degrees) and the humidity (easily 5,000%), Saturday was a wonderful day. Even if I did feel physically grotesque and prone to melt.

Later in the day, I met a cousin! My great-grandfather had several older siblings, and this cousin is descended from one of his older sisters. She discovered me on several months ago. I knew there was a possibility of cousins down that line, as I’m aware of the possibility of other cousins from my great-grandfather’s siblings, but I had run into the wall of not knowing where to go.

Sunday morning I met some friends for breakfast in Hunt Valley, then went to the Hunt Valley Inn for the final day of Shore Leave. I’d run into people who reacted with some surprise that I was there… then they’d tell me that they were leaving at that precise moment.

I didn’t have any real plans for Shore Leave. The schedule for Sunday, to be frank, was a bit on the thin side, and I didn’t blame anyone for leaving early; had I been there all weekend, I would have left early, too.

Karen Gillan and her handler walked past me; I didn’t realize how tall Gillan was.

I attended John Noble’s talk, which isn’t the sort of thing I normally do.

I was telling someone this Sunday morning — I don’t collect autographs, I don’t usually attend the actor talks. These things don’t interest me. The one time I hopped in an autograph line, it was at Farpoint and it was because I wanted to talk one-on-one with Harve Bennett and tell him how much his work meant to me. So why did I attend John Noble’s talk? Even now, I’m not entirely sure.

Then I worked up the courage to ask Noble a question.


Unfortunately, the woman in the question line in front of me asked roughly the question I’d intended to ask — would you like to return to Elementary and reprise the role of Morland Holmes (Sherlock Holmes’ father) and what direction would you like to take the character?

So I had to come up with a question on the fly. And after rambling about how I’d been a Sherlock Holmes fan since I was a wee lad, how Elementary had built up Sherlock’s father as a dark unseen presence over the preceding three years and I wasn’t sure that any actor could live up to that, I was sold completely on Noble as Morland from the moment he first appeared with Jonny Lee Miller due to their chemistry, and could he speak to what it was like working with Miller and Lucy Liu.

Noble said that I paid him “a huge compliment,” then described Miller as “intense” and “not fuzzy”; he’s an intense actor playing an intense character and very focused, and after a scene he’d shake Noble’s hand. Liu, on the other hand, is “all fuzzies” and “a great friend,” not to mention “fiercely talented.”

I’d love for Noble to return to Elementary. In response to the question before mine, Noble said he expected Morland Holmes to die at the end of the season when he took the role, was surprised by how the season ended, and thinks the producers may have a follow-up arc in mind but they’ve not told him or contracted him.

I know how I’d want to see him return. Sherlock Holmes’ father is now, essentially, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a role he’s taken on for the best of reasons — to destroy an international terrorist organization from the inside — and the question is, can Morland control the power at his disposal without succumbing to its temptations? Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Noble, by the way, is immensely personable and charming.

After Noble’s talk, with nothing else on tap, I went into Towson to see another Cal Ripken League baseball game — the Baltimore Redbirds were playing the Vienna Riverdogs in a double header.

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The Redbirds won game one, 2-1. I didn’t stay for game two. It had been a long weekend. A good weekend. But also a long one. 🙂

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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