Another brief Hooting hiatus may be afoot. Well, not afoot, exactly, rather ahead, for the head is the home of the eyes. As readers will be aware, the Key eyes have lately been pitiful things, subjected to all sorts of medical procedures. Tomorrow I shall be off to the hospital again for an op. It may be that reading and writing will be difficult until such time as I obtain new reading specs with a new prescription. While I am gone, you can rummage around in the archives. Type a word or phrase into the search box above and see what buried treasures you unearth.
“Caucasian Bird Riffles” from Carla Bley’s 1974 album Tropic Appetites. The singer is Julie Tippetts, and the words are by Paul Haines, held in very high esteem by the teenage Mr Key.
My reference to Tuesday Weld the other day prompted a reader to request the repotsage [sic] of this piece from seven long years ago.
Be it known that on the fourteenth day of the month of March in the year of picklings last, MR THUBB, the Hon. Secretary of the Pointy Town chapter of the Tuesday Weld Fan Club, hired a charabanc for the purposes of an excursion to outlying parts of the said town, there to picnic and exchange pictorial collector’s cards of Tuesday Weld, her contemporaries and her peers.
That the driver of the charabanc was a man of frightful countenance and evil reputation. That he was said to have phantom limbs, additional to his given limbs, and that though these could not be perceived by the human eye in ordinary daylight, they were nevertheless present, and said driver might be said to have the form of a gigantic spider were he ever seen whole.
That the cost of the hire of the charabanc and driver was met by subscription to the excursions and picnicking fund of the Tuesday Weld Fan Club, administered by the Hon. Treasurer MR BRIMSTONE. That MR THUBB and MR BRIMSTONE were at loggerheads by cause of imponderables and fathomless mysteries known to none but they and their wives and the late beadle, MR FLAIL, perished of an ague in the month of February past. That the relict of MR FLAIL was confined to a madhouse wherein she did knit, in a phrenzy, in all her hours of wakefulness.
That the charabanc driver, by name BINNS, having agreed a route to the picnicking spot with MR THUBB, did diverge his vehicle up into the hills, whence his intention was to deliver all the excursioning members of the Tuesday Weld Fan Club into the clutches of the Grunty Man, who dwelt in a lair in said hills. That BINNS was to gain no pecuniary advantage from this treachery, in that his sole purpose was mischief and malfeasance. That the babblings of the excursionists within the charabanc excited them to such degree that none took cognizance of the divergence.
That much frost and ice lay on the roads in that month of March for it was a bitter season. That there was no grit to be had nor wherewithal of Pointy Town civic gritting persons to spread it upon the roads if there had been, for they were in dispute with regard to their stipend and held banners in a throng outside the civic hall and had tubs which they thumped with main force. That notwithstanding his great merit as a driver of the charabanc, BINNS caused the vehicle to skid ski-skaw-skoo off the appointed way and go plunging into a ditch some four miles as the crow flies past the Bypass at Blister Lane. That had BINNS taken the route agreed with MR THUBB such accident would never have occurred.
That the gentlemen and ladies of the Tuesday Weld Fan Club conducted themselves with decency and aplomb. That those who had been hurled from the charabanc assisted those who remained within its twisted wreckage to make their escape. That they gathered in the ditch and sipped with due daintiness from flasks of soup piping hot. That the Hon. Correspondence Secretary, MRS GLEETY, distributed to all Dr Gillespie’s Famous And Trustworthy Brain Powders For The Alleviation Of Disorders Of The Nerves And Integuments. That tears of emotion were shed when it was seen that MR THUBB and MR BRIMSTONE were putting aside their differences in the face of calamity and were shaking hands with each other with manly forbearance.
That a considerable time elapsed before it was noted that the charabanc driver BINNS was not present with the others in the ditch. That said BINNS had taken to his heels at the first opportunity. That his fleeing gained much expedition from the fact that his visible heels were accompanied by any number of phantom heels. That the direction of BINNS’ fleeing was into the hills, where he threw himself upon the mercy of the Grunty Man with terrible bewailings that he had failed in his appointed task. That the Grunty Man was a stranger to mercy and grunted loud and awful grunts and dragged BINNS into the depths of his lair. That not hide nor hair of BINNS was ever seen again on this spinning earth.
That the composure of the members of the Tuesday Weld Fan Club was a magnificent thing and a pride unto Pointy Town. That when wounds were bandaged and shattered bones set with splints, they clambered forth each and every one from the ditch to make the journey home on foot. That night fell and they lost their way yet did not once screech in terror nor complain of chill. That they kept their spirits up by calling one to another the titles of feature films in which Tuesday Weld had appeared, to which another would respond by calling out the name of the character she had played in said feature film, so that MR BRIMSTONE might call Rally ‘Round The Flag, Boys! and MRS GLEETY call Comfort Goodpasture, or MR THUBB call The Private Lives Of Adam And Eve and the Hon. Picnics Secretary MRS BLEARS call in return Vangie Harper.
That such jollies were brought cruelly to a close when it happened in the darkness that MR THUBB collided with an enormous block of masonry and was knocked insensible. That MRS GLEETY had exhausted her supply of Dr Gillespie’s Powders but was able to revive MR THUBB with a draught of arquebusade-water from a canister within her handbag. That it was resolved to remain in the lee of the enormous block of masonry pending the break of dawn, for it provided some shelter from a wild wind which now was roaring. That to pass the time until dawn, the excursionists hummed tunes made famous by Dudley Moore and Pinchas Zukerman, respectively the second and third husbands of Tuesday Weld.
That when dawn came and examination was made of the masonry it was found to be covered in greatly mysterious inscriptions in an alphabet unknown to even the most erudite member of the Tuesday Weld Fan Club. That this was by common acclaim MR SHAMBEKO who was the author of many learned books, among them being a history of Pointy Town, a topographical description of the area around the Blister Lane Bypass, and a shot-by-shot analysis of the feature film I’ll Take Sweden, in which Tuesday Weld appeared as the character JoJo Holcomb. That in scraping clumps of mud from the masonry the better to view the inscriptions, it became apparent that much of the block remained submerged below the ground. That MRS GLEETY produced from her handbag a number of gardening trowels which she carried on the aborted excursion in case within the vicinity of the picnic spot had grown such plants as campions and hellebore and lupins for the digging up and transplanting to her garden behind the house on Turpentine Boulevard in Pointy Town. That those of the party not yet faint with exhaustion set to with a will a-trowelling away the mud to reveal as much of the enormous block of masonry as their efforts might allow.
That thus was discovery made of the ancient tomb of Anaxagrotax. That MR SHAMBEKO thereafter wrote an account of the discovery and embarked upon an extensive lecture tour of many countries. That MR SHAMBEKO never failed to acknowledge the inadvertent part played by the evil spidery charabanc driver BINNS. That it remains unknown who or what Anaxagrotax was or in what era he lived if ever he lived at all. That his tomb now gleaming is surrounded by a fence to deter souvenir hunters, and that propped against the tomb, in a plain wooden frame coated with protection against the elements is a publicity photograph of Tuesday Weld, taken circa 1963 during production of the feature film Soldier In The Rain, in which she appeared as the character Bobby Jo Pepperdine. That it is apt that a soldier stands guard in a sentry box beside the tomb of Anaxagrotax, and that it is raining, and that there is no roof upon the box, so the rain falls directly upon the soldier, whose badge declares his name as Private Pepperdine.
The world-famous food-splattered Jesuit was one of the best loved and most successful variety acts of the interwar years. It is believed that he appeared at every single seaside resort in the land, the grandiose and the dilapidated, in and out of season, and always to rapturous applause. Key to his appeal was sheer simplicity. The curtains would open and there, on stage, world-famous and splattered with food, stood a Jesuit. He would extend his arms, almost in crucifixion pose, and gaze at a point slightly above the heads of the audience. There were no frills, no “business” with props. After a few minutes, the curtains would close, and – barring the inevitable encore – that was that. It was a winning formula, but one which, alas, could not transfer to radio, where so many of the stars of variety theatre went on to find fame and fortune.
Throughout the years of his greatest popularity, roughly the decade from 1925 to 1935, the world-famous food-splattered Jesuit managed, miraculously, to preserve his anonymity. We still do not know for certain who he was. We do know, in spite of rumours put about to the contrary, that he was a single, particular individual, and not a series of different Jesuits. This charge was first levelled in a scurrilous newspaper story. In the Daily Voodoo Dolly for the sixth of September 1929, a hack named only as “Our Seaside Resort Reporter” claimed that the original world-famous food-splattered Jesuit had been killed in an accident (picnic, lightning) and replaced by at least seven other Jesuits, who took it in turns to appear at the end of piers, splattered with food. This farrago of nonsense was comprehensively demolished by investigative variety theatre reporter John Pilge, a man who knew his onions.
But even Pilge was not perfect, and it seems he was the source of a common misapprehension of the nature of the Jesuit’s performances. Oft repeated by nincompoop wannabe historians of the seaside variety theatre, this is the idea that the Jesuit stood on stage, initially pristine in his soutane, and that he was splattered with food by members of the audience pelting him with eggs, fruit, cuts of meat, soup, ketchup, ad nauseam. So let me be crystal clear – there is not a shred of evidence that this was ever so. More than that, it belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire point of the act, and the reason it was so wildly popular, to wit, that the Jesuit simply stood there, stock still, arms outstretched, faintly holy, world-famous, and food-splattered.
There was an art to these performances which we lose sight of in our modern fast-moving age of pap ‘n’ twaddle. It would be a mistake to think that the Jesuit was nothing more than a messy eater with the table manners of Kafka, who simply allowed various stains and spillages to accumulate upon his soutane. Anybody could achieve that, with persistence, determination, slapdash eating habits, and the shunning of laundry. In fact, there was for a time a rival act known as the world-famous bacon-and-egg-besmirched nun. Though a woman of fine manners and terrific personal hygiene, she was bedizened by the lure of the end of the pier limelight, and dedicated herself to allowing much of her fried breakfast to fall upon her habit. It was an effort of will not to send it straight to the laundry, but she gritted her teeth and prayed, and took to the stage. In itself hers was a fairly enchanting act, as she knelt in an attitude of devotion, clutching her rosary beads, displaying her stains of egg yolk and bacon grease. But she was viewed, with justification, as a copycat, and audiences failed to warm to her. She later achieved a measure of success with a completely different act, involving tea-strainers, coat-hangers, and performing monkeys.
The genius of the world-famous food-splattered Jesuit, on the other hand, was that the splattering was carried out, backstage, immediately before each performance. He would remove his soutane, lay it out flat on the floor, and proceed to splatter it with whatever foodstuffs came to hand. He would chuck eggs or fruit at it from across the room, drizzle it with soup and broth and slops and sauces, and shower it with bread- and biscuit-crumbs. Although there is no evidence that Jackson Pollock ever witnessed these preparations, it seems inconceivable to me that he could ever have arrived at his action painting technique without first having watched the world-famous food-splattered Jesuit.
Though there is common agreement that he was, beyond all reasonable doubt, a Jesuit, and food-splattered, several latterday commentators have wondered about that “world-famous” bit. Given that he is not known ever to have performed outside the seaside resorts of his own country, they ask, is there any truth in the claim that he was famed around the world? This was the interwar years, remember, when communications were technologically primitive compared to our own era. How would a variety theatre aficionado in far flung foreign parts ever hear tell of the goings on at the end of a rickety pier in an out of season seaside resort in our blessed land? It is a pertinent question. But it ignores the decisive role played in the world-famous food-splattered Jesuit’s career by his manager.
“Colonel” Tom Emersonlakeandparker was a rogue and a rascal, and an impresario of genius. It was he who first saw the potential of that pristine black soutane, saw it as a blank slate upon which food could be splattered, and then displayed, as in a tableau vivant, to an adoring public. All he had to do, he realised, was to find the perfect Jesuit, first to do the food-splattering, then to stand still with outstretched arms for ten minutes or so upon a seaside stage. By all accounts, he searched for over six years before finding his man – a man whose name still remains a secret. At the first few appearances, billed as the Food-Splattered Jesuit, the act was a flop. But rather than ditch his choice of Jesuit, which he might easily have done, the “Colonel” instead appended “World-Famous” to his stage name. It was a stroke of genius. Crowds thronged to see a figure who was already – they thought – a legend. They were not disappointed, as who could be? Certainly, in today’s entertainment-saturated world, we fail to register just how impoverished we are. In the era of multi-channel television and YouTube and a populace with the attention span of a gnat, we ought to be crying out, in our millions, for a variety act as spiritually enriching as the world-famous food-splattered Jesuit. Perhaps a young tyro Jesuit with a burning desire to entertain the masses is reading this. He will know what to do.
Originally posted in 2012.
Tuesday Weld Goes Berserk is the title of a puppet show created by the noted glove-puppeteer Dot Glovepup. It acts as a companion piece to her earlier, award-winning show Googie Withers Goes Haywire, and has proved equally controversial. Both shows are clearly indebted to the traditional Punch And Judy format, with squeaky, braying voices and demented violence. Dot Glovepup has been forced, in both cases, to add a prominent programme note declaring that “any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental”.
Tuesday Weld Goes Berserk is divided into three acts. In the first, the Tuesday Weld glove puppet is presented as calm, placid, and peaceable. Indeed, one could say that she is wholly inert, the better to contrast with the “going berserk” which follows. This opening scene lasts anywhere between four and fourteen seconds, depending – according to the glove-puppeteer – on the mood of the audience.
In Act Two, Tuesday Weld gets married to the British pianist, actor, and comedian Dudley Moore. She then goes berserk, bashing him around the head with a sock filled with pellets of lead and then shoving him down a well. Immediately afterwards, Tuesday Weld marries the Israeli violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman. She proceeds to go berserk, bashing him around the head with a sock filled with wet impacted sand and then shoving him down a mineshaft.
In Act Three, a police officer attempts to arrest Tuesday Weld, but she scampers away and, dressed in a pink duffel coat, goes cavorting at nightfall on the beach at Deal, skipping about and waving her arms before mincing along the pier and vomiting into the sea, an obvious reference to the haunting image of Carry On actor Charles Hawtrey described in the closing pages of All The Devils Are Here by David Seabrook (Granta, 2002).
Critics have questioned the absence from the puppet show of Tuesday Weld’s first husband, Claude Harz. Dot Glovepup, interviewed for the magazine Characters Ignored In Glove Puppet Shows Weekly, hinted that he may appear in a planned “prequel” glove puppet show featuring both Tuesday Weld and Googie Withers.
Tuesday Weld Goes Berserk is currently showing at a temporary kiosk at the end of the pier at Deal. Admission is free to those wearing pink duffel coats.
NOTA BENE : In the text above, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
“Desdeñosa” by Lhasa De Sela (1972 – 2010), with a vocal performance that is, er, quite intense.
Tra la la. Diddly dipsy dee. Look, there goes a person of unhinged mien. But does an unhinged mien betoken an unhinged mind? Let us find out. Let us follow him on his way. Let us follow him to the ends of the earth. But the earth has no ends! It is a globe, and one can go round and round and round forever, or until one drops, panting with exhaustion, without ever reaching an end. Yes, yes, I know one can come to a strand or a foreland or a cliff, and be faced with the sea – so vast, so wet, so merciless – but one simply hops into a boat, any old tub will do, and sooner or later there will be more land upon which to proceed. There are no ends.
So let us follow this person of unhinged mien wherever he should roam, and if he hops into a boat, well, we too shall hop into a boat. But not the same boat. It would not sit well with our sense of safety to be alone aboard a boat with a person of unhinged mien. His unhingement may be of maniacal bent, and under that cloak of his he may be armed with weaponry, lethal weaponry. Think a sharp sword or perhaps a loaded blunderbuss. Think upon that, though it does not bear thinking about, for we could end up with fatal wounds, toppling from the boat into the sea, there to flail helplessly and drown, if he is indeed a maniac.
Better by far to hop into a second, different boat, and follow. We need not even navigate, simply steer the same course as is being steered by the person of unhinged mien, his cloak now swapped for the blazer of a yachtsman. Its fit is too trim to conceal that sword or blunderbuss, but he may still be armed, a dirk in his pocket or a shiv tucked up his sleeve, ready for the wielding, and the blood and the toppling and the flailing and the drowning in that damnable sea.
Let us follow, them, at a safe distance, until such time as he, and we, spy land ahoy, and disembark upon it might be golden sands or it might be wet impacted mud. He swaps his blazer for a macintosh, like Hitler’s. Is he Hitler? Not dead after all, but on the lam, heading for a villa hidden in the mangrove swamps of South America? Of course not! I am running away with myself. Perhaps I, too, am becoming unhinged, in mind if not mien.
It would not be the first time. There was that big bleak soot-black building high on a hill, Pang Hill, behind iron gates, doubly, no, triply padlocked, where I was kept for years, among persons given to raving and gibbering, and warders, done up in starched white tunics, who patted me on the head and gave me fizzy pop in a plastic beaker, which I slurped with gratitude, though a largeish portion of pop dribbled down my chinnychinchin, the warders dabbing at it with rags. Sometimes, at night, chained to my iron cot, I have fantastic dreams, in which I imagine I am still there, behind high walls on high Pang Hill, and not in some faraway land, across the vast wet merciless sea, in dogged pursuit, to the ends of the earth, of a person of unhinged mien. Tra la la. Diddly dipsy dee.
Continuing our series of pictures of interest to aficionados of 1970s Marxist art-rock collectives …
My thanks to Max Décharné
We take as our text for today’s lesson the Gospel of Matthew, chapter ten, verse twenty-nine:
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Sometimes it so happens that you will go to a sparrow-seller to make purchase of a pair of sparrows, only for him to state an asking price of more than a farthing. Or he might charge a farthing for a single sparrow, but throw in a second sparrow with a “Buy One, Get One Free” offer, in which case you will pay a farthing for two sparrows even if the one sparrow costs a farthing in itself. Thereagain, you might find yourself being offered a free sparrow by a seller of, say, partridges or linnets, who has an unwanted stock of sparrows and cannot wait to be rid of them, for they are greedily eating up his grain and millet that he would rather feed to his partridges or linnets.
So when we ask the question, as we must, are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?, the answer is no, not always, not in all circumstances, come what may, for there may be times and places where we will be asked to pay more, or less, for a pair of sparrows. And from this we can learn much about the ways of God and Man. Yes, the honest sparrow-seller will hand us two sparrows upon receipt of a farthing, but not all sparrow-sellers are honest, while some sparrow-sellers are too honest for their own good. And, as with sparrow-sellers, so too those from whom we buy other birds, not just partridges and linnets, but starlings, and kittiwakes, and seagulls.
But what of the second part of the verse from Matthew 10, that one of them – that is, the sparrows – that one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father? The first part of the verse is a question. The second part is not. It states, quite vehemently and unchallengeably, that, without your Father, one of the sparrows will not fall on the ground. But which of the sparrows is it that shall not fall? One of them will, and one of them will remain in the air, in flight and birdy swooping, until your Father appears, at which point, we must assume, it will plunge towards the earth, just because your Father has arrived.
The more one studies this passage, and I have studied it for years and years, the more problems it raises. Why does one sparrow fall on the ground without your Father? Why does the other sparrow fall on the ground when your Father appears? Is your Father armed with a shotgun, or a catapult? Does His mere presence induce in the tiny frail sparrow a heart attack? And if He can have that effect on a sparrow, what of other birds, partridges, say, or linnets, or starlings or kittiwakes or seagulls or robins or wrens, or even hummingbirds?
These are profound questions, and we must dig deep to answer them, deeper, certainly, than a sparrow may need to dig to light upon a fat juicy earthworm for its morning snack. My own experience has taught me that all that digging will be as nought unless one has first found a sparrow-seller to sell one a pair of sparrows for a farthing. Alas, in this day and age, more leaden than golden, such sparrow-sellers are rare indeed, rarer even than the proverbial hen’s teeth. But the hen is quite another class of bird from a sparrow, as you will know if you have ever kept poultry.
Thus sayeth the Lord.
This piece first appeared in 2011. It seemed particularly pertinent to repost it on today of all days.
This week’s musical treat is the Poem of Ecstasy by Alexander “Tiny Hands” Scriabin. In the words of Nigel Tufnell, it goes up to 11.
Aficionados of 1970s Marxist art-rock collectives may be intrigued by this book cover.
Via the Henry Cow page on Facecloth.
There is a song about a lonely goatherd with which I am sure many of you are familiar. This goatherd is usually represented by a puppet (above). We are fortunate to have a picture – indeed, film! – of the lonely goatherd puppet, for there are other noteworthy goatherd puppets of which no images exist. I refer to the Blots, a family of goatherds unparalleled in their rapacity, shadow puppets of whom were devised by the shadow puppeteer Jasper Weems.
Weems told the story of the Blots through the medium of shadow puppetry. Let us retell it here, using words.
The Blots had been goatherds in the Swiss Alps for generations. Their lives were, and always had been, narrow, pinched, and poor. Then, one day in 1964, the current patriarch of the family, Hans Blot, came upon a newspaper report of a meeting of British Labour Party politicians. One of their number, George Brown, had apparently made reference to the gnomes of Zurich. His interest piqued, Hans Blot read further, and learned that these gnomes, residing in Switzerland’s largest city, were exceedingly wealthy.
Hans Blot, who was a goatherd unparalleled in his rapacity, saw an opportunity to turn around his family’s fortunes. Instead of scraping a living herding goats, the Blots could borrow money from the gnomes and … well, he did not immediately form a plan, but he felt sure that he could turn a modest loan from the gnomes into an enormous pile of cash somehow or other, given his unparalleled rapacity.
Blot did not set off for Zurich right away. First, he drilled the family in the tenets of anthroposophy as expounded by Rudolf Steiner. This was necessary, Blot thought, because he assumed the gnomes of Zurich were the invisible gnomes who live among men but cannot be perceived by the common riffraff, such as goatherds, only becoming visible to those on a higher plane of human existence, such as Rudolf Steiner.
The Blots, driven by their unparalleled rapacity, studied hard, and before long, believing they might now be able to perceive the invisible gnomes, set off for Zurich. Upon arrival, they trooped into the first bank they saw, and were delighted when they realised they could see the gnomes with absolute clarity. Hans Blot proceeded to ask for a loan of money. Though the gnomes of Zurich – who were of course not Steinerian gnomes at all, and were visible to everybody – did not lend out money willy-nilly, they recognised the gleam of greed in Hans Blot’s eyes. Such unparalleled rapacity, they felt, was worthy of their regard. The Blots left Zurich with pockets full of cash.
As winter drew in, they spent long evenings huddled in their noisome goatherders’ hovel trying to think up ways to use the loan to, in the words of an accountant, generate a regular revenue stream. Then, on a blizzard-wracked night, one of the younger Blots, Hansi, as rapacious as her grandfather, had a brainwave.
You know, just up the mountain, she babbled in excitement, there is the chalet of the Prix Poubelle-winning writer N K Freaky. He has his own private funicular railway. We could buy it from him, and then gouge oodles of cash by charging exorbitant funicular railway fares!
All the Blots agreed this was a brilliant idea. And over the next five years, they bought more and more funicular railways, not only in the Swiss Alps but in the Austrian and Italian Alps too, and charged their passengers ever-increasing fares for journeys up and down those sublime snow-topped peaks.
But such was their unparalleled rapacity the Blots were reluctant ever to part with a pfennig. When it came time to repay their loan to the gnomes of Zurich, the Blots simply ignored the demands that plopped through the letterbox of their Alpine hovel. Eventually, the gnomes lost patience. After a secretive conference in a secret chamber in their secretive bank, the gnomes of Zurich fastened upon a terrible resolution. They hired a gang of invisible Steinerian gnomes, who one night burst, unperceived, into the Blots’ hovel, and slaughtered them in their beds, each and every one, from Hans to Hansi.
The foregoing cannot, of course, do justice to the vivid shadow puppetry of Jasper Weems’ shadow puppet version of the story of the Blot family, but I hope it has afforded you a modicum of entertainment.
This magnificent book, packed with piggery, tells us, among much else, that
old-fashioned pigs … are extremely likeable characters. They are highly intelligent, exceedingly amiable … and will follow you about like a dog. They have a keen sense of the absurd and will suddenly take off in a collective giddy fit, twirling round and round to the accompaniment of hoarse pantings, guffaws, it might almost be said, of merriment.
It is one of the enduring mysteries of contemporary life. How can it be, I hear you cry, that there is not a blockbusting Hollywood franchise based on Hooting Yard? Imagine for a moment that there existed a dimwitted action-packed film, filled with CGI explosions and the like, in the spirit of, say, Alien vs. Predator, but in this instance called Babinsky vs. The Grunty Man. Clearly the moviegoing hordes would be queueing up at multiplexes across the land to lose themselves for two and a half hours in such a spectacle. So why has Mr Key not yet had a call from a Hollywood mogul? It is, as I say, an enduring mystery.
I am sure, too, that a film entitled Tiny Enid : Plucky Tot could spawn an endless string of sequels. Come on, Hollywood! Get your act together!
To date, only the visionary film-maker Miss HatHorn has used Hooting Yard as her source. If you have not yet seen A Recipe For Gruel, watch it now.