“Oi, Key! Where’s the blinkin’ prose?” shouts a gruff and guttural voice inside my skull, in a dream or nightmare. It’s a good question, however impolitely put. I can’t plead that my brain is empty, for the usual shenanigans are going on in there, the witterings and sparks. But for some reason, over the past few weeks, when my fingertips get set to tippy-tap at the qwerty, something seizes up, and I stare out of the window or light a cigarette or pick up a book and bury my head in it. (I haven’t been keeping up with the usual blogs I read, either.) Perhaps, with Impugned By A Peasant & Other Stories unleashed upon a palpitating world, I am drawn to paper, not to screen. Yet all the words begin upon the screen, and have done for the last decade and a half at least. I can’t quite recall when I last saw the typewriter I used to own, and upon which I typed out, on paper, and with much use of Tippex, the first few Malice Aforethought Press pamphlets. What became of it, that Olivetti, first acquired by my family when I was nine or ten, and on which I tapped out such juvenilia as a magazine devoted to the very sensible hobby of nisbet spotting? (How I wish I still had the five or six issues of that important journal! Too late now for them to be found in a skip, or at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft – they will have rotted long ago.) Had I been born a generation later, of course, all that nisbet spotting stuff would have been online, imperishable. I don’t remember much about it, save that I invented a cast of characters who formed a nisbet spotting club, and who never actually spotted any nisbets. For some unearthly reason the HQ was placed, very firmly, in Biggleswade, a town I have never knowingly visited. Ah, the fripperies of youth! Not entirely different, in many ways, from the fripperies of my Hooting Yard-based adulthood, and impending dotage.

I was going to write something about pipe-smoking, not that I have ever smoked a pipe. There was something I read, or saw, on pipes, that made me want to write… but what it was, I cannot say, it’s gone, it’s gone…

Forthcoming : Huz and Buz. Soon.

One thought on “Oi

  1. Perhaps if all readers set aside their copies of ‘Impugned By A Peasant & Other Stories’, and noisily stared at the Hooting Yard screen instead, the emanations would somehow penetrate the Key cranium and reboot whatever needs rebooting? But at present those who have acquired the new tome are doubtless ‘drawn to paper, not to screen’ as well …

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