‘Lets just hope that mycroft won’t find this.’
This (and similar) posters are BBC Sherlock RP-ing (role-playing) on the Maurice YouTube boards - appropriating (often, a limited understanding of) Maurice for their own Sherlock fandom purposes. The jury’s still out on how far their interest in Maurice extends beyond this (needs further research); but, in many cases, I suspect not far.
‘There’s something fascinating about the fact that the people on youtube who are writing about gay male pairings may or may not be gay men.’
From my own research (yes, this is what I do!), the commenters on the YouTube Maurice boards are around 50/50 male/female. This has always been the case: Maurice (the film) has had female fans (and, prominently, Japanese yaoi fans) since its 1987 original release. The Maurice cast interviews on The Making of Maurice documentary (one of the extras on the 2004 double-DVD Merchant Ivory Collection edition, also on YouTube) even refer to the film’s 1980s popularity among ‘Japanese schoolgirls’. The term yaoi isn’t actually used by James Wilby or Rupert Graves in these interviews(!), but the YouTube commenters aren’t slow to draw the connection.
The Maurice–slash connection is longstanding and multilayered, with the caveat that many of Maurice’s fans would not have recognised/used the term ‘slash’ with reference to their love for the film/novel. The impact of BBC Sherlock (since 2010) on the reception context of Maurice within internet/fan culture has, however, introduced new twists. (For my first effort to make provisional sense of this in a paper already published, see the link below.)
In contrast with the gay male presence on the YouTube (and IMDb) Maurice boards (and Maurice’s presence on gay male blogs), the Mystrade subculture, BBC Sherlock slash culture in general, and the *Mystrade-related* YouTube comments on the Maurice boards are overwhelmingly female - even predominantly cis-female. While some female fans of Maurice (whether via BBC Sherlock or not) identify as queer, bisexual or lesbian, many others do not. Nor can their uses of ‘this extended text’ (as you put it) *necessarily* be presumed to be progressive in relation to the politics of queerness (if it’s possible to speak of those!)
Last, it’s important to add that internet fandom around Maurice, Maurice online fan communities, and Maurice fanfiction (mostly female-authored) *did not start with BBC Sherlock*. One purpose of the mauriceficlist LJ (which you found!) is to document these earlier stories and gain them a wider ongoing readership.
The earliest Maurice fanfictions I’ve seen date from 2004 – perhaps non-coincidentally, the release year of the Merchant Ivory Collection DVD. The first Maurice internet fan communities also formed around that time, notably LJ’s mr-edna-may.
Prior to BBC Sherlock, Maurice fanfiction was typically cross/posted in places like mr-edna-may, the (short-lived) Dreamwidth Maurice community Never Be Parted, and on LJ communities such as historic-slash, unusual-liasons [sic], or rarelitslash. Some of that ‘early’ Maurice fic has already been deleted by its author(s) – so it should be borne in mind the full extent of this ‘early’ Maurice fanfic activity isn’t fully visible.
For more, see Participations, 8:2, Nov 2011:
(You’ll probably find Part 2 most relevant.)
Hello! Hektor is a critic now. Being a critic is a very hard job, for smart people! You have to look at things, and then you have to say, “things: do you make me happy?” And then you have to say it whether they do or not! You have to be very smart to do this, because if a thing makes you happy, everyone else has to be happy about it also. It is a rule! Because of how you said what to feel!
Hektor takes this very seriously. Hektor is very serious about all the things now, because he is a critic, and he has to tell you whether you are happy. The other dog is not a critic. She is a girl dog, who is mean, and just has opinions. Hektor tells her: “Do you know that you are not smart? I am! I am smart! I know more about the things than you! You have to stop saying judgments about the things!” And then she bites him on his head. The people will give the other dog away soon.
Now Hektor is going to criticize something. People! From now on, you are not allowed to be sad about GAME OF BONES!
GAME OF BONES is a show Hektor is watching, because one of the people started to watch it, and then the other person who is a girl started watching it also and complaining. It is a new show because Hektor just started to watch it and it has four episodes and that’s all.
GAME OF BONES is a show about five nice dogs. The nice dogs decide they would like to have some people, so they choose people who look like they never take any baths and they all probably smell like pee. What smart dogs! These dogs will never be given baths! These dogs will never have people who ask them, “what smells like pee?” They will know that it is THEM! THEY have the pee smell! Hektor concludes that this is a show about a utopian future in which people have adopted dog values.
The five nice dogs have so many adventures! Often these adventures are delightfully comic in nature. One time, a man comes into the room, and he yells at the dog’s girl person, and he is mean in his demeanor and even tries to wrestle although he is not her friend. But then one of the nice dogs jumps on him and bites him. So he dies! Ha, ha, ha! Stupid person! You did not realize there was a dog! Now you are dead.
Later, a smaller person with a weird face who is called Joffrey is ALSO mean, and yells at ANOTHER, smaller girl person. So one of the dog bites him! He does not die, he just cries about it. Ha, ha, ha! Probably you are crying because you don’t have a dog, Joffrey! Probably what you think is, “I wish I had a dog! And also that I did not have a weird face! And also that I did not get bitten!” But NONE OF THESE THINGS ARE TRUE. You have a weird face, and a bite, and you do not have a dog to care about it when you cry, because no-one loves you. Humor!
That nice dog who is called Nymeria goes off to have lots of thrilling adventures. Hektor assumes these adventures will be the main plot driving the rest of the episodes in the GAME OF BONES.
Hektor has to explain the title, because you are not as smart as he is, because he is a critic now. Listen while Hektor explains to you, stupid people!
The GAME OF BONES is the one where all of these dogs are trying to be the nicest dog who gets the most pets and treats because they are the best at getting mean strangers to cry when they are mean to the dogs’ people. The GAME OF BONES is very serious because if you don’t win it someone else gets all the treats. You win or you have just regular food! High stakes! Hektor would like this practice implemented into modern life. He tells the other dog, “I know that I would win the GAME OF BONES, and then you would be sad.” Then the other dog, who is a girl dog, and mean, bites him on the head, and then she knocks him down, and then she chases him around the apartment yelling. The people will give the other dog away soon.
Hektor has decided you have to be happy about the GAME OF BONES but also he has a complaint, which is: Too much filler. The people are always very unhappy and they all want the nice chair. This is understandable, but pedestrian! Hektor enjoys other aspects of the people sub-plot, however, such as how they are always naked and humping each other to demonstrate dominance, because this shows they have accepted dog values.
Hektor’s girl person always complains and makes eye-roll faces during lots of the naked and humping scenes. She says things like “AGAIN” and “HOW ARE THEY FITTING A DECADE’S WORTH OF EXPOSITION INTO THIS, JUST SCREW EACH OTHER,” and “THIS IS THE NINETY-SEVENTH TIME IN FOUR EPISODES THAT I HAVE SEEN THE KHALEESI’S TITS.” Hektor accepts that people are adorably backward in their values.
This is Hektor’s review of GAME OF BONES so now you have to feel this way about it because he does. Hektor is going to conclude with some news, which is: A spin-off starring Lady! Hektor wondered what happened to her at the end of the episode with all the biting because she wasn’t on the show any more. She is going to have her own show now. She will have three lady dog friends, and they will have lots of misadventures figuring themselves out on their own in the big city. One of her friends will be very responsible! The other one will not be responsible at all and have wild behavior. So irresponsible, that one! Always having behaviors all of the time! The other lady dogs will remark on this with bemusement. The other dog friend will be a puppy and very stupid. Together they will represent lady dog experiences! Some of them are uptight and the other ones are not uptight and then one is stupid and one of them narrates it. The show will be called “LADIES,” and though it does not seem like Hektor’s thing per se — he finds it somewhat narcissistic, and also, he doesn’t know quite how to say this without seeming like a mean dog, but he doesn’t think Lady is all that conventionally attractive — you should definitely watch “LADIES” if you are a girl dog and less smart than Hektor.
Anyway, that is what happened to Lady, which Hektor knows, because he got insider news when he was worried and the girl person told him this was what occurred. Hektor gets inside news! He is a critic! Have all your opinions, once you make sure they agree with Hektor’s!
FUNDING PROVIDED BY: THE PEGHLEESI
THE NEXT TIME YOU USE YOUR HEAD TO STEAL A TREAT FROM ME IS THE LAST TIME YOU WILL HAVE A HEAD.
I think these days, though, people underestimate the disciplined power a bit of formalism can lend them. There’s no shame in appropriating the canon for one’s own ends, after all. Passion combined with discipline is a heady and effective combination.