It seems to be the done thing on various blogs to mark the end of the year by pointing readers to highlights of the twelvemonth we are about to leave behind. But quite frankly, I can’t be bothered to trawl back through the 495 postages (before this one) which I tippy-tapped out in 2011. Dutiful readers will of course spend the final hours of the year as they usually do, rereading the entire Hooting Yard archive while making notes with a pencil in a jotter. And then, at the stroke of midnight, you can put on your pointy hat and raise a glass of aerated lettucewater in celebration, for a minute or two, before returning to your reading.
I will be setting a series of tests early in 2012, to make sure you have been paying attention. Meanwhile, I wish you all a very happy new year, and thank you for your enthusiasm and support.
Today is, apparently, “the start of a two-week frenzy of online shopping”. I am told by persons who know such things that it is much easier to make purchases online than it was for Richard Bradley in the late 18th century trying to buy an island and having to negotiate with the Tobabmanser of Jancacunda and his singing man. Though in general I disapprove of shopping frenzies, I do think it would be a good idea for you all to go here and buy copies of all six Hooting Yard books, available in both paperback and ebook formats. They do, after all, make the perfect Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
It’s unmissable! For one night only, Frank Key declaims his stories to a live audience, accompanied by the legendary Outa_Spaceman singing selections from the Hooting Yard songbook and his own compositions.
Friday 18 November · 19:00 – 22:00
Woolfson & Tay. Books. Café. Gallery.
12 Bermondsey Square
London SE1 3UN
A snip at a mere fiver! Bring your extended family, and spread the word (to avert the exquisite horror of nobody actually turning up…)
To book your place, go here
Thanks to Backwatersman, a “sort of Edwardian Out of Office Assistant”. In future I shall deploy this at such times as the cranial integuments get clogged up with dust and cobwebs and the Muse flees o’er hill and dale – in other words, when I am felled by vacancy-between-the-ears syndrome. If all goes well you should not see it too often.
Allah-befuddled theocratic nutters and their chums in the airhead wing of what used to be the “left” are fond of referring to the state of Israel as “the Zionist Entity”. This is of course a pejorative term, not only denying the legitimacy of the state but implying that there is something menacing and eldritch about it, like a tentacled Lovecraftian abomination.
So much for the global body politic. What about the bosky winding lanes of Interwebshire? Your favourite website, the one that makes you drool with joy unparalleled, nestles there, attracting a modicum of attention. But no one gets het up into a bothersome lather about Hooting Yard, do they? They bash on the gates, come in and read, perhaps leave a comment or buy a book or make a donation or subscribe, and then they tootle off again, heading for the Lord knows what sink of iniquity or wittering or poppycock. In nation-state terms, then, Hooting Yard is an obscure and seldom-crowed-about country, akin to Andorra, perhaps, or Kiribati, or Palau. If the nutters drove us into the sea, would anybody even notice?
In a no doubt foolhardy attempt to raise our profile, and indeed to have other websites quaking in their boots at our (albeit imaginary) menacing Lovecraftian tentacles, the time has come to rename ourselves as The Hooting Yard Entity. You have been warned.
Astonishingly, today is the fifth anniversary of the publication of Blötzmann’s historic bird psychology diagram. Ornithologists throughout the world will be celebrating this landmark in a manner only ornithologists can, that is, by gathering upon promontories peering at the sky while munching filberts.
(Click on the diagram for a larger image,)
It is hard to put into words the earth-shuddering ramifications occasioned by Blötzmann’s diagram. Certainly it has had immeasurable effects upon the way we puny humans apprehend our beakéd, wingéd, airborne pals. I for one am reduced to dribbling with joy that I no longer languish in bird-ignorance, as I sadly did until this day five long years ago.
UPDATE : Inexplicably, several errors crept into the reproduction of Blötzmann’s diagram. The corrected version appears below, and will, again, loom larger should you click upon it.
And still the onward march of Hooting Yard into every nook and cranny in the universe continues, unstoppable! The latest place we have wormed our way into is the Public Domain Review, a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Public Domain Review is, as it says, “exactly what it says on the tin: a web-based review of works which have entered the public domain. Each week an invited contributor presents an interesting or curious work with a brief accompanying text giving context, commentary and criticism.”
This week’s invited contributor is your very own Mr Key, who was asked to write a brief piece introducing that inimitable masterpiece Jubilate Agno. The lovely people at the Review have added the audio of the legendary ResonanceFM recording (an outtake of which appeared here the other day), so now you know exactly what to do with the next three hours of your nasty, brutish and short life.
ADDENDUM : On the subject of global dominion, WordPress keeps me alerted to mentions of Hooting Yard wherever and whenever they occur. And today, I am pleased – albeit rather beflummoxed – to learn that Unthinkable Consulting, on its ‘delicious’ feed, recommends the “offbeat brilliance” of Hooting Yard, “an example of a gift-based literary business model”. Well, at long bloody last. Ever since I started tippy-tapping the contents of this website over seven years ago, I have been waiting for somebody to acknowledge that, all along, I have been constructing a gift-based literary business model, daddy-o.
At The Dabbler the other day I answered the question “Where do you get your ideas from?”
The other poser regularly aimed at scribblers – and, indeed, bloggers – is “What do you write about? Describe your work to us, in terms a dribbling infant could understand!” I have seen no better a potted summary of Hooting Yard than this piece at Twisty Turny Lanes. Anybody crashing through the rusty iron gates of Hooting Yard for the first time would do well to read it, before devoting the rest of their dismal days to exploring the archives.
Many thanks to that perceptive fellow Johnnynorms.
As seen in Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)
“I am actively hostile to the ‘New Year’.” – Peter Hitchens