The Three Patch Podcast is made up of a brilliant and creative collective of international Sherlockian superfans who bring together their diverse range talents and interests to produce a monthly three-hour audio celebration of all things BBC Sherlock.
On the first of each month, I download the new episode and set off on a very long walk, so excited to listen to and learn something new and interesting and fun. Segment topics range from tips and advice on writing, news about the cast and crew, interviews with fan writers and artists and scholars, roundtables on everything from polyamory to Victorian Holmes to the talks on state of the fandom, fic recs, crafting tips, and fandom squee (and that just barely scrapes the surface of the diverse range of segments and features the show produces.)
Their celebratory focus on fan creators and the fannish side of Sherlock are some of the many reasons I love the Three Patch Podcast, and in many ways they inspired me to create These Curious Times, to find a way to express my love of fandom. (Thank you for that TPP!)
I’ve always wondered how the Three Patch Podcast came to be, and how they manage to pull together this brilliant and massive show each month. So I was so extremely thrilled that Emma, Caroline and Drinkingcocoa were kind enough to chat with me about the origins of the Three Patch Podcast and what goes on behind the scenes! I had so much fun learning about what they do! Enjoy!
Curious: The very first thing I always ask about is how people came up with their fandom handles. There’s always an interesting story behind each one. What are the stories behind your fandom names?
Emma Grant: I guess it was about 2002, when I was in the Star Wars fandom. I’d been lurking in the fandom a bit but I wanted to join the Yahoo group because I knew I was going to start writing. I had to make up a new email address to get access to the Yahoo groups and I thought, well I don’t wanna use my real email address because it was going to be mainly porn.
At the time I’d also been really into Queer as Folk and there was this episode where they talked about how your porn name was the name of your pet and the name of the street you lived on. So I modified that a bit and I went with a name that I always liked which was Emma. At the time I lived on Grant Road so that was it: Emma Grant. I wanted it to sound like a pen name because a lot of people had things like Master Darkstar or ObiWan-something for their fandom names.
That turned out to be a great idea because as I’ve moved from fandom to fandom I’ve kept the same name. There’s an 01 on it because (this tells you how old I am) Emma Grant was already taken on AOL. Emmagrant01 was not taken and then that just sort of stuck.
Curious: I’ve always wondered about that, because Emma Grant really just sounds like a regular name.
Emma Grant: It does! When I get together with the Three Patch guys in real life they call me Emma. Even my kid knows that some people call me Emma and that’s okay.
Curious: So Caroline, how did you choose Ava Watson as your handle?
Caroline: I started out on tumblr, that was my entry into fandom. I had one of those really ridiculously long handles, it was something quite stupid like soufflégirl_at_221B… it also incorporated Doctor Who as well. I was a giant fan, and I still am of the author KeelieThompson1. She has a universe in which she writes Ava Watson as the five-year-old daughter of John Watson. I messaged her and asked her if I could use this name as my handle. I think I specifically messaged her after I started either writing or drawing porn because I felt really weird about the fact that I was doing things using the name of her original character. But when I messaged her she was like, “Go ahead, do with her whatever you want with it!”
She’s actually very difficult to get a hold of because she doesn’t have a tumblr presence. But I got my blessing from her and I’ve had this name ever since. Now a lot of people do call me Ava and that’s kind of weird because I’ve always said you can call me Caroline.
Curious: It’s interesting how fandom handles over time can become your name, I might’ve chosen something different at the time if I’d known that.
Caroline: I’ve had so many before Sherlock! I was also on AOL too, so if you want to call me old that’s okay. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of them.
Curious: And what’s the story behind Drinkingcocoa?
Drinkingcocoa: Mine’s really boring. I wanted to start a Live Journal and I didn’t know what I was doing. Someone said, well you have to make up a name and I put maybe five seconds of thought into it. “Well there’s this drink I like…” Then I felt like, well now I’m stuck with it.
I know there are people who change their handles but I didn’t want to be unrecognizable so I just stuck with it. I didn’t know then that fandom was going to suck up my entire life! If I did, I would have put more thought into it.
Curious: I’d love to dig into the origins of the Three Patch Podcast. You’ve been going strong for over two years now, how did it get started? Had any of you had experience creating podcasts before?
Emma Grant: I was part of a podcast in the Harry Potter fandom called SlashCast. It was a podcast I created with charlotteschaos and a few other people. Basically we were just going to squee about slash and all the slash pairings in Harry Potter. That lasted about two years and then we rebooted it a couple of years later as a multi-fandom slash podcast.
At that point we started talking about everything. Interestingly enough, it was through that podcast that I found the Sherlock fandom. One of my friends came on to talk about Sherlock in a segment that we had called “Pimp My Fandom,” where someone would come in and say this is why this fandom is cool, these are the awesome pairings, here are some recs to get you started. It was a little “pimp my fandom” starter kit. That’s how I got introduced to the Sherlock fandom. This was before Series 2 and so Sherlock was still a very small fandom.
Several other people on the podcast had been part of Snapecast, which was another Harry Potter podcast. Rachael, Shannon, Dixie and Qui were involved with it, so I think that the story goes that once we were all in the Sherlock fandom, Dixie started bugging Rachael around Thanksgiving that she missed Snapecast and we should do a Sherlock podcast.
Then Rachael started sending emails to everybody she knew who had been in a podcast in the Harry Potter fandom. I was just digging up the email the other day and it said something like, “I want to start a mini Sherlock podcast that focuses on the fannish side of it.” In her email she even said there are the Baker Street Babes that cover Sherlock but they don’t really focus on the fannish side as they are more about the canon and what’s going on with the production. Rachael wanted this to be totally fannish about BBC Sherlock. We were like, “Yeah this is great!” And then a month later we had a podcast.
Drinkingcocoa: Rachael was like, “Yeah, it won’t take that much time.”
Caroline: I just saw this email recently when Emma forwarded it to us because I came in in a much later wave. Rachael’s description was so far from what we do now. I wanted to laugh but it was like one of those “I can’t…”
Emma Grant: The thing that’s interesting about Rachael is that she is so good at starting projects. In her real life, this is kind of what she does, but for the entire time that I’ve known her she’s always done this. She’ll say, “I have this great idea for a project, and I’d like to suck you into it, and it’s just going to be this. It’s not going to be hard, it’s just going to be like these eighteen things and it will be great!” And she’s always right, it always works! She just has this way of talking you into doing shit.
Curious: How close did the first podcast end up being to the original brief?
Drinkingcocoa: I think it was already much bigger.
Caroline: I think of a small podcast as being a half-hour segment, maybe an hour. One conversation from start to finish is what I envision small to be. But from the get go this podcast was in a variety show format with multiple segments, which means logistically that’s multiple times to get together, multiple people to organize, and that’s just a very different thing.