August has been exceedingly fecund here at Hooting Yard, with more postages in a single month than at any time since the site reared its gorgeous head almost seven years ago. However, I now wish to alert readers to the possibility that things may quieten down for a week or so, the reason being that a critical stage has been reached in the production of this year’s Lulu paperback. Yes!, fear not, fairly soon now your Christmas-present-purchasing-befuddlement will be washed away, like the blood of the lamb, with the publication of another fat (350 pages or thereabouts) anthology of mighty lopsided prose, direct from Mr Key’s pea-sized yet pulsating brain to the printed page!

The mind-numbing business of bashing the book together is at an advanced stage, formatting the text and proofreadnig and reformatting the text, etcetera etcetera ad nauseam.. This ought to be a simple matter, but as the ever-reliable Mr Fadhley, who directs the operation, points out, the programme used to create the book “was designed by nerds for nerds and is monstrously complex”. Think of that when, eventually, you clutch the treasured tome in your dainty little hands, as tiny as Scriabin’s, if that is an approximate description of your hands, though I realise it may not be. You may have huge hairy paws. It matters not.

So for the next few days at least I will be trying to tackle the remaining monstrous complexities. Should anything momentous bubble up in my cranium I shall try to post it here, but I thought it worth alerting you that things may quieten down just a tad.

Meanwhile, you might want to make a day trip to Beccles.

Deptford Squat Stir-Fry, Etc.

Here is a list I never thought I would be included in : General Sir Richard Dannatt… Susannah York… Rt Hon Sir John Major… Prunella Scales… Frederick Forsyth… Sir Michael Caine… Sir Richard Branson… Joanna Lumley… Nicholas Parsons… Stephen Fry… Frank Key. Oo-er, missus!

Your favourite impoverished scribbler is in this august company as a contributor to that recipe book I was telling you about a few weeks ago, in connection with my participation in a broadcast by Phil Minton’s Feral Choir. Mr Minton’s recipe, Deptford Squat Stir-Fry, is truly sensational.

The book is Able To Cook, and all proceeds go to the charities Age UK Norfolk and Connects & Co. I command, by diktat, all readers to go here, immediately, and buy a copy.


My thanks to R., by the way.

Bird Masks Optional

While you wait for Mr Key to stop shillyshallying and produce this year’s Lulu book, the print aficionados among you will be delighted to hear about a new magazine entitled Polarity. The first issue, Death Vs. Taxes, is due out imminently, and its London launch party is to be held next Sunday, 27th June, from 6.00 PM at the Slaughtered Lamb, 34-35 Great Sutton Street, London EC1. Among other enticements, there will be poetry from Carol Watts, songs from the great Peter Blegvad, and some prose from Mr Key himself, making a rare public appearance. All Hooting Yard readers and listeners should, of course, cancel all other appointments and attend. I am told that the dress code for the event is “bird masks optional”.


Completely Spineless


Thin and spineless, We Were Puny, They Were Vapid is the fourth Hooting Yard book now available from Lulu. Volume One in a projected series of Out Of Print Pamphlets Reprinted, it contains three stories from before Mr Key’s Wilderness Years, together with recently discovered illustrative matter by Dan Chambers and a brand new bit of prefatory twaddle from Mr Key himself. So go and buy it, right this minute.

Note to subscribers : Those of you who have subscriptions at Old Halob level or above will receive a signed and dedicated copy, brought to you by your postie. To ensure delivery, please send an email giving me your current postal address (even if you think I already know it), and be patient while I get so complicated a business organised.

Note to putative subscribers : Anyone taking out a subscription at Old Halob level or above by 31 December 2009 will also receive a signed copy.

Pippy Bag Packed

I have packed my pippy bag and will be off on my travels first thing tomorrow morning. Postages at Hooting Yard will thus be sparse, or perhaps non-existent, for the next couple of weeks. You can stave off hysteria by rummaging in the Archives, or buying the books. Speaking of which, almost as soon as I return to Blighty in the second week of December, a brand new Hooting Yard book will be published, thus solving your Christmas gift problems!

Non-Subliminal Advertising

Apparently, if you use Lulu’s super-duper extra fast express uberexpensive delivery option, it is Not Too Late to receive copies of Hooting Yard books in time for Christmas. (While we are on the subject, I would like to point out that I insist on calling Christmas Christmas rather than one of those wretched multi-or-no-faith euphemisms which are, as we know, abominations not to be tolerated.) So to avoid being faced with sulky disappointed relatives and friends on Christmas Day, go here and order your copies right this minute.

Cockles Warmed

Recently I bemoaned the fact that, not being a member of the literary in-crowd, I find it impossible to get my books reviewed. While not being reviews as such, a couple of blog posts devoted to Gravitas, Punctilio, Rectitude & Pippy Bags warmed what pass for the cockles of my heart. When you have read what Georgy Riecke and The Lumber Room had to say, you would do well to immerse yourself in the rest of their outpourings.

Matchless Blurb

A book like no other that ever will be, as twenty brilliant acknowledgements from literary sovereigns, – “scintillating,” “fascinating,” “subtle,” “sincere,” “sublime,” “gorgeous,” “fantastic,” “exquisite,” “ambrosial,” “most soul-compelling,” “so suggestive of still higher things,” “a glimpse into Eleusinian mysteries or the literature of the planet Mars,” “like purple mountain peaks rising above the clouds and disappearing in the whiteness of shrouds of mist,” – expressly and by necessary implication agree.

There is nothing like it in literature; and a splendid mind it is that goes flashing on through these pages.

The ebullition of your thoughts makes me feel as if I had been attracted to within a few hundred miles of the sun and had his gas-jets in full view.

Thanks to Odd Ends, I have learned that these measured statements appeared on the back cover of My Soundspeed Discovery, Expanding into a Constructive Medley of Wit and Song; being a Four Years After-Inflorescence of The Life-Romance of an Algebraist, by George Winslow Pierce (1895). I think we can honestly say that such a matchless blurb applies equally well to Gravitas, Punctilio, Rectitude & Pippy Bags.

Informative Note

A brief note. Those of you who read Hooting Yard via an RSS feed will have spotted that you now only get the opening lines of each post, and will have to visit the site itself to read the whole thing. The purpose of this change is not to inconvenience you unduly, but to ensure that you are compelled to keep glancing to the right, where you cannot fail to see the books available – a fourth one is due early in 2009 – and of course the ‘Donate’ button, designed to instil pangs of unbearable guilt that so many, many words have been offered freely over the past five years. 

ADDENDUM : Actually, I ought to say that not all readers need be beset by guilt-pangs, as some of you have been very generous. You know who you are, and I thank you.

Gravitas, Punctilio, Rectitude & Pippy Bags

“And about bloody time!” I hear you cry. At long last, after much travail, the new Hooting Yard anthology is available. Gravitas, Punctilio, Rectitude & Pippy Bags contains no fewer than a hundred and one stories eked from the pea-sized but pulsating cranium of Mr Key. 340 pages, or thereabouts, packed with common sense, with a few pictures thrown in, including that old favourite the Chumpot Patent Soap label. Now you can curl up in your exciting 60’s style wickerwork seating pod, or sprawl on a lawn in a snowdrift during a winter picnic, and furrow your brow as you grapple with the exceedingly sensible doings of exceedingly sensible characters such as Dobson and Pebblehead and Tiny Enid and fictional athlete Bobnit Tivol.

Simply click on the picture to order your copy.

Unspeakable Desolation Pouring Down From The Stars

Hooting Yard is excited (possibly overexcited) to announce publication of Unspeakable Desolation Pouring Down From The Stars, a decisively sensible novella of high adventure, derring-do, and baffling conspiracies. Prior knowledge of arcane philatelic imponderables is useful, but not necessary. The book also contains two shorter pieces, one of which features mute blind magnetic love monkeys.


Click on the cover art to buy the book.