Hooting Yard On The Air, the radiophonic arm of the global Hooting Yard franchise, has been off, rather than on, the air for the past three weeks, due to Resonance FMâ€™s August scheduling shenanigans.Â The programme returns tomorrow, but I thought it would be helpful for readers and listeners to be apprised of what I was up to between 6.30 and
First Week. It slipped my mind that I was not required to babble into a microphone for half an hour, so I turned up at the studio, as usual, of sprightly mien, as usual, stylishly engarbed in a Flemish cheesecloth suit, as usual. As usual, I rattled my tally stick on the railings of the great iron gate to announce my arrival. Now, what normally happens is that the gatekeeper emerges from his cubby hut and unlocks many many padlocks before swinging the gate open a tad to let me in. On this particular Thursday, I am afraid to say, because my presence was not required, I was not met by the gatekeeper but confronted, indeed attacked, by Skippy the Resonance Dog, who bounded over the gate and gnashed his glistening spittle-flecked fangs at me. Unfortunately, I had no bones in the pockets of my suit, neither real ones rich in marrow nor toy ones made of rubber. Either kind would have served to distract the savage hound, of course, as would any number of twizzly plastic novelties of the kind one can pick up for tuppence at funfairs. Lacking any such item that would endear me to a slavering and terrifying dog, I fled. When I got home I wrote a stiff letter to the powers that be at Resonance, the gist of which was that I had always been under the impression that Skippy was a Blunkett hound on hand to assist the blind, with a sideline in rat catching and occasional twilight howling. I have yet to receive a reply.
Second Week. I spent the evening of the next Thursday in a tent pitched in a field where a combination Kibbo Kift reunion and Jethro Tull convention was taking place. People are often surprised when they realise just how many souls owe fealty to both Kift and Tull. As for me, I was camped in the field for purposes which had nothing to do with either of them, and thus was in a filthy temper, so much so that at one point I rent the sleeves of my Flemish cheesecloth suit jacket in umbrage. But that happened after
Third Week. I was dusty and bedizened, strung out in eerie mist upon a bench in the grounds of an owl sanctuary, and I held in my hands the copper wires of a mechanism of which I had but little understanding. Lembit Opik, or someone very much like him, was lurking in the vicinity, equally dusty and no less bedizened, but somewhat more addled, and trading in grotesqueries with a person whose arms never ceased flapping. This person I knew not. I was glad of the cushions on my bench, for I was at the very extremity of exhaustion, having sprinted to the owl sanctuary along a rustic lane pursued by Skippy the Resonance Dog, or by his phantom. The more I think about it the more certain I am that it was the phantom Skippy, for why in the name of heaven would the real Skippy have pounced upon me as I emerged from a bleak cafeteria wherein I had taken tea? And by jingo, I had certainly taken tea. Never before in my life had I taken such a copious amount of tea, mug after mug after mug, and every mug chipped, and every saucer sloshed with slops, and every teaspoon caked with rust. It was, indeed, the bleakest of cafeterias, and when I left it the phantom Skippy chased me along the lane, and I dodged through a hedge into the owl sanctuary, and found refuge on the cushioned bench, and Lembit Opik, or someone very much like him, handed me a mechanism and bade me hold tight to the copper wires, and I slumped, strung out, thankful, and dusty, and bedizened, in the eerie mist.