There is a slight possibility that Hooting Yard may be offline for a couple of days, due to ludicrous shenanigans with which I shall not bore you. If this happens, get your fix by burrowing in the 2003-2006 Archives. With luck, however, I may be able to delete this entry. Fingers crossed.

UPDATE : I am pleased to report that the shenanigans, such as they were, have been averted. I was on the point of deleting what I had written above, when a thought popped unbidden within my brain, and my hands, looming in readiness above the keyboard, loomed still, in mid-air, as if frozen in a snapshot. The thought was this: if I leave those measly words in place, could I not use them as a pretext upon which to tap out a further barrage of sensible prose? Each day one struggles, as if through fog, or mud, or foggy mud, for ideas, for things to say, for observations to make, for words to add to the teeming words already bashed from the keys, between glugs of tea, or Lemsip, between staring out of the window at the sky and the clouds and the flocks of swooping unidentified birds. There are of course more bitter struggles, let’s not get carried away. And sometimes it is not a struggle at all. Sometimes the words come as easily as falling off a log, as they say. Twenty two years ago, on the morning after the Great Storm, there were more logs lying around from which one could fall, having first clambered to stand upon them, than one usually finds in this bailiwick. Ordinarily one might have to walk a mile or two, or more, to find a log lying on its side, riddled with worms and burrowing tiny beings and grubs. But there were logs aplenty after so many trees had come crashing to the ground in the night, battered by howling winds. But perhaps I am confusing fallen trees with logs, when they are not quite the same thing, or not at all the same thing, and I am just displaying my ignorance of certain aspects of the world. It would not be the first time. I rarely check the accuracy of my assertions before I tap ’em out, and I never feel constrained to write, as that witless piece of advice has it, “only about what you know”. How dull would that be? Only yesterday, for example, I stumbled upon a reference to the German film director Wieland Speck. I had never heard of him before, but something in his name appealed to me. “Wieland”, with its echoes of Gothic from Charles Brockden Brown’s novel of that name, and “Speck”, a lovely chunky word one can spit out, and its meaning of a thing tiny and evanescent and fugitive. Within five minutes, I had embroidered inside my head a majestic canon of Speck films about which I might hold forth, pretentiously, waving my arms in dramatic gestures, the cynosure of a salon’s worth of credulous admirers. I might be wearing a beret, and sporting a goatee, in this little mirage, taking languid puffs on a Gitane between singing the praises of an intense black and white melodrama of sulky demimondaines directed by Speck in 1966. For me, Speck – pronounced Shpeck, being German – was up there with Fassbinder and Herzog, as fecund as the one and as unhinged as the other, and I was ready to write a monograph about him. Alas, a couple of minutes of research, made so effortless by the interweb, told me that Wieland Speck was not the cinegod of my dreams, merely the director of a handful of features that sounded, frankly, a tad mediocre. Twenty two years ago, at the time of the Great Storm, before the interweb as we know it, it would have taken me much longer, weeks or months or even years, to track down information about Wieland Speck, assuming I maintained my interest long enough to do so. My private Speck would have had a longer life, with time to grow and develop, before the disappointment of the real Speck obtruded. At interweb speed, my dream Speck is come and gone in minutes, become a mere mental speck in my own history, and would be swiftly forgotten. Ah… but never forgotten if I write him down, no, and never deleted. Had I been so rash as to obliterate the shenanigans above, I might never have found myself recalling the glorious fictional cinematic career of my mental Wieland Speck, who has as just a claim to posterity as the real one. Well… probably not, all things considered, but you know what I’m saying, daddy-o, because I’ve just said it.

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