Baffling, Brilliant, Brutal, & Hysterically Funny

Hooting-Book-Cover-for-web-pageNow here is a treat for you lot. The splendid persons at Dabbler Editions, purveyors of e-books to the e-literate, have launched upon the world an e-anthology of Mr Key’s outpourings. By Aerostat To Hooting Yard : A Frank Key Reader contains 147 stories selected by the estimable Roland Clare, who has also written a scholarly introduction. Truly it may be said he has pored over numberless sweeping paragraphs of majestic prose and has actually managed to work out some of the things going on inside Mr Key’s brainpans.

According to the Dabbler, the anthology is “baffling, brilliant, brutal, and hysterically funny”. It is also dirt cheap, well within the means of even the most impecunious reader (few, if any, of whom are as impecunious as Mr Key himself). And remember, you do not need a Kindle to read a Kindle e-book. There are plenty of ways to read this earth-shattering and heart-rending tome on any of the electronic contraptions you might have lying about in your hovel. Just ask your nearest computer whizz person.

So the basic idea is that you go and buy the book from or or amazon.wherever-you-are. You then award it five stars and post a review explaining that it is the most noble effusion of the human spirit since [insert previous noble effusion of your choice]. You then harry and hector everybody you know, and buttonhole strangers in the street, also to buy the book. And on the seventh day you may put your feet up and actually read it.

Come on, readers. If you cannot make this the bestselling e-book of all time, you can at least ensure that Mr Key is in with a chance of winning the mrs joyful prize for rafia work.

N.B. Those of you active on Facecloth and Twitter should strain every sinew to splurge news of the book all over the place. Remember, you will get your reward in heaven.


What with all this book research, Hooting Yard is taking on a rather neglected air, I’m afraid. But a man can only write so much, even Mr Key!

What is happening at the moment is that instead of sitting down with my goose-quill and my parchment and painstakingly inscribing sweeping paragraphs of majestic prose for the elves in the cellar to tap out on a keyboard and post on Het Internet, instead of that more or less daily routine I have devised a quite different routine, which involves browsing through various dusty tomes on the creaking bookshelves of Haemoglobin Towers, winnowing from them choice snippets about the lives and absurdities of persons part and present. Persons such as, to pluck an example at random . . .

Peary, Robert (American explorer, 1856 – 1920). Peary had idiosyncratic views on how best to survive the harsh polar climate. On his expeditions, he never slept in a tent, preferring to remain out in the open with his dogs. He chewed frozen chunks of pemmican (concentrated fat and protein) rather than cooking it.

Today I have also added to my manuscript Britney Spears, Cecil B. DeMille, the ornithologist and aviator Angelo d’Arrigo, and the tearaway son of Edward G. Robinson, among others. No wonder by this time of day (just after 8.00 PM) my wits are addled. (Actually, they were addled simply from considering the activities of Angelo d’Arrigo, but you will have to wait for the book to come out to find out about him.)

So I am going to do my best to inject a bit of vitamin-enhanced vim ‘n’ verve into Hooting Yard, but I hope you will bear with me. Of course one way to hasten my completion of the book so we can all get back to blessed normality is for you lot to send me your own choice snippets of odd and unlikely biographical flapdoodlery (with a note on sources).

The Book

So … this book I am working on, due out next year. It will be a whole volume of Brief Lives, as posted recently in The Dabbler. As I explained there, the entries are not really “lives”, in the sense of potted biographies, but a single snippet about each subject, which could be an amusing or bemusing fact, an anecdote, a quotation by or about the person, or in some cases simply the preposterously lengthy title of a book they have written, as in this case:

Mowbray, Jay Henry (American writer, 20th century). Mowbray was the author of the 1912 book Sinking Of The “Titanic”, Most Appalling Ocean Horror With Graphic Descriptions Of Hundreds Swept To Eternity Beneath The Waves; Panic Stricken Multitude Facing Sure Death, And Thrilling Stories Of This Most Overwhelming Catastrophe To Which Is Added Vivid Accounts Of Heart-Rending Scenes, When Hundreds Were Doomed To Watery Graves, Compiled From Soul Stirring Stories Told By Eye Witnesses Of This Terrible Horror Of The Briny Deep.

Much of the material I have gathered thus far (including Mowbray) lies buried deep within the Hooting Yard archives, but of course my research is taking me further afield, to dusty tomes on library shelves. And you lot can be of assistance, by bringing to my attention bits and bobs of information that deserve a place in the book.

The criteria for entries are that they are : amusing or bemusing (or both) ; true, or at least attested as true by a reliable source ; not widely known (though I realise that is a subjective judgement) ; and, oh, there was a fourth, but I cannot recall what it was.

I know all of you will be panting with eagerness to assist Mr Key in his endeavours, and all assistants will be thanked by name in the book. Please send your suggestions to hooting [dot] yard [at] gmail [dot] com. As this will be a scholarly work of reference, please give details of your sources.

Meanwhile, here, for your amusement, is another brief life lugged out of the archives:

Nazário de Lima, Ronaldo Luís (Brazilian footballer, b. 1976). During a football match in 2009, referring to a footballer named Rolando, a television commentator wondered “how long is it since Ronaldo was marked by an anagram of himself?”

Sparse Potsages

I noted the other day that potsages [sic] would be sparse for a while, but I do not want you lot to think I am staring vacantly out of the window with nothing going on in my noggin. If anything, the Key Cranium – soon to be declared a national monument, or possibly even an international monument – is fizzing and bubbling like unto a potion in a test tube on a bench in a laboratory wherein Dr Fang and his grotesque assistant Mungo do whatever it is they do in old crackly black and white films.

So there is much tippy-tapping taking place at Haemoglobin Towers, but none of it is being posted here, or indeed anywhere. The reason for this is that I have somehow found myself having hit upon a scheme deemed to be “commercially viable”, and I am preparing a book to be brought mewling into the light by a reputable publisher next year. For that reason, too, there will not be a Hooting Yard paperback from Lulu this year, although there will be something for you to get your grubby mitts on in time for Christmas – more news of that soon.



You lot need to replace your copies of Dracula by Bram Stoker, and you need to do so right now. Well, actually, make that on Thursday, when the new paperback edition pictured above is published. The reason you need to do so is because this edition is illustrated by my second-born son, Edwood Burn. It is his first publication, released as he begins the final year of his illustration degree, so it seems to me you ought to go and buy it out of your devoted loyalty to Hooting Yard.


Buckle! Kindled

You lot are aware, I think, that Hooting Yard is a with-it, groovy, space age kinda place. If proof were needed (which it isn’t) then what could be more with-it and groovy and space age than the release of Mr Key’s recent paperback Brute Beauty And Valour And Act, Oh, Air, Pride, Plume, Here Buckle! in the decisively intangible form of an ebook for Kindle?

Go here and make your purchases, oh electronic persons!

Marginal Notes And Poetic Mirrors

I mentioned recently that in the first week of March I shall be rejoining the international jetset and swooping down upon New York City. This kind of shenanigans undermines my reputation as a Diogenesian recluse, but you will be relieved to hear that I am bent upon important Hooting Yard business. To wit, the launch of this lavish and lovely book:


Here is part of the official press release from Westreich Wagner:

“works of James Beckett with constant interjections by Frank Key”

In a spatially and conceptually complex arrangement of text, image and scale, this book is a multi-vocal account of the varied practice of Amsterdam-based artist James Beckett. Beckett’s work explores minor histories, many of which are concerned with industrial development and demise across Europe, a process of investigation which is as much physical as it is biographical. The pages of this new monograph are littered with associative interjections from the archive of Frank Key’s radio program “Hooting Yard”, as an irreverent running commentary. These texts become marginal notes to, and poetic mirrors of, the contributions of the book’s eleven other authors.

Contributing Authors:

Will Bradley, Kari Cwynar, Moosje M. Goosen, Will Holder, Virginija Januškevičiūtė, Kathrin Jentjens, Angela Jerardi, Frank Key, Frances Larson, Catrin Lorch, Brian Pugh and Dieter Roelstraete.

The launch itself, which will feature Mr Key spouting his texts out loud, takes place from 6.00-8.00 PM on Monday 4 March at 114 Greene Street, Floor 2, New York, NY 10012. Should any fanatically devoted Hooting Yard readers and listeners wish to attend, please send a note to the publishers here.

Porpoises Rescue Dick Van Dyke

It has become common in recent years for the annual Hooting Yard paperback to be published in late autumn. This year, however, Mr Key has decided to tap the summer reading market. Now you can sprawl on the beach at a dilapidated and unseemly seaside resort clutching this fantastic new anthology to your heaving bosom!

porpoises cover

Porpoises Rescue Dick Van Dyke contains 250 pages of majestic sweeping paragraphs, together with discussion notes for your Book Group and a photograph of the Parp-O-Phone! It even has wider margins than earlier books, so you won’t need to crack the spine to sup your fill of what one critic (Snigsby) called “Mr Key’s delicious prose nectar”.

As ever, these timeless words are ignored by the accountants and airheads of the literary establishment, so the only way to get your copy is to hie over to Lulu. Do so right away!

La Maison De Térébenthine

Earlier today I was rummaging in the ReR Megacorp catalogue when I discovered, somewhat to my astonishment, that Mr Cutler’s emporium has “a few copies” of House Of Turps for sale.


He describes it as “classic Oulipoesque Keyiana” which is fairly accurate. It is a booklet originally published by the Malice Aforethought Press in 1987, although the copies available may be from a second print-run made as the “gift item” appended to subscribers’ copies of one of the legendary ReR Quarterlies. (Incidentally, besotted devotees may wish to snap up the entire collection of Quarterlies, two sets of which also seem to be available.)

Here, then, is your chance to clasp to your heaving bosom a true rarity, nigh on a quarter of a century old. I suggest you hie hence and place your order and send Mr Cutler your monies.

Remember, Remember, Re Dabbler

Dabbler-3logo (1)In my cupboard at The Dabbler this week, I have transcribed the words of a children’s song appropriate for today’s date.

The song is taken from a garish publication of the last century entitled Special Agent Rastus Blot’s Traditional Songbook For Winsome Tinies. It was a piece of spectacular self-aggrandisement by Blot. Though the songs purport to be much-loved chants and ditties sung by billions of children around the world, they were all in fact devised by the Special Agent himself, and feature him in a starring role, carrying out deeds of daring and bravado. When I did some research into the matter, I discovered that not one tiny has been heard singing any of these songs, anywhere, ever.

Quite frankly, if you are going to present an urchin with a book as a gift, I would give Special Agent Rastus Blot’s farrago of nonsense a wide berth and buy Impugned By A Peasant & Other Stories instead.

Marketing Ploy


In 1922, Charles Ives self-published his collection of 114 songs. Now, almost one hundred years later, Mr Key has self-published a collection of 114 stories. Yes, at last, wrenched from the innermost core of his creative innards, Impugned By A Peasant & Other Stories is available for you to buy, to fawn over, to stroke tenderly with your fingertips just like Christopher Plummer as Atahualpa in The Royal Hunt Of The Sun, in dazzling sunlight, strokes the Holy Bible. Or you may prefer to keep your copy locked away in a lead-lined cabinet, submerged in a pit, cordoned off by an electric fence patrolled by wolves and hogs. It’s up to you, really. The important thing is that you buy as many copies of the book as a sensible person would, what with Christmas coming up, and all those birthdays and anniversaries and saints’ feast days on which you will want to present your nearest and dearest with a treasurable gift. So get with the programme, readers, and hike over to Lulu at once to make your purchase!