Key Twit

As most of you lot know, I do not engage with Twitter. (The Hooting Yard Twitfeed is an automated bit of gubbins that updates whenever I post something here.). It has been brought to my attention, however, that last week I was all over Twitter like a rash – if being retwitted over fifty times is, as I am assured, a rash. The cause of the hoo-hah was the attention given to a letter I had published in The Spectator which is, I hope, self-explanatory.


Paris In The The Autumn

The Public Domain Review Book Of Essays 2011-2013, which I told you lot about yesterday, is reviewed on the Paris Review website. Well, sort of reviewed. The author confesses he had never heard of Christopher Smart before, and devotes the bulk of his piece to a summary of Mr Key’s essay on Jubilate Agno. I added a comment directing readers to the audio recording at the Internet Archive. Sooner or later, Germander Speedwell and I are going to “go viral”, I am sure of it.

A Timely Reminder

It has come to my attention that some among you lot are not spending your appointed three hours per day listening to Jubilate Agno, Christopher Smart’s lengthy and demented poem, recited in full by Mr Key and Germander Speedwell. Happily, there is a link to the recording at the Public Domain Review. Backsliders take note!

Which prompts me to bring to your attention the newly-published Public Domain Review : Selected Essays 2011-2013, a book which you ought to buy immediately. Go here for further details and ordering information. Mr Key’s piece on Kit Smart is included in the book, so it is a necessary purchase (along with Kew. Rhone.) for all fanatically devoted Hooting Yard completists, which of course is every last one of you.


Facecloth & Witter

I would like to remind readers that Hooting Yard has an eerie, shimmering “presence” on both Facecloth and Witter.

The Facecloth group is sunk in lassitude, but it can be revivified if you lot all join up and start posting the sorts of posts persons post on Facecloth, whatsoever they may be.

The Witter site is automatically updated* every time Mr Key posts something here at Hooting Yard, which means I never have to lift a tweety finger, thank heavens. But I understand that following and retweeting things is a constant activity for half the planet these days, so I encourage you all to get cracking.

*NOTA BENE : Due to inexplicable and quite possibly Lovecraftian forces at work in the aether, the updates have not been appearing for several months. This should be fixed soon, possibly by the time you read this.

Tooting My Own Trumpet

This is the Age of Unbridled Narcissism, but Mr Key is of course a diffident and unassuming fellow. However, I would like to draw to your attention the programme for Devour! The Food Film Fest, to be held in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in November. Among the films to be shown is Sharon Smith’s splendid adaptation of A Recipe For Gruel, described thus:

Animated and described cleverly by the best British voice you have ever heard, A Recipe for Gruel will charm and inform, but mostly charm.

Er … to be precise, it was animated by Sharon (aka Miss HatHorn) and narrated by Mr Key, but I am flattered by such praise. In case you have no idea what the Nova Scotians are talking about, you can listen to untold hours of that voice babbling away at the Hooting Yard On The Air archives at Resonance104.4FM.

When it has done the rounds of the film festivals, food-related and otherwise, A Recipe For Gruel will be available to watch online. I shall keep you informed.

American Vicarage

In his scholarly introduction to By Aerostat To Hooting Yard, Roland Clare writes: “The Bad Vicarage is a very funny piece that epitomises not only the moral instability of Hooting Yard but also Key’s desire to puncture the very illusion of reality that naturalistic authors are at pains to sustain. Even if the rest of the story were sensible – rest assured, it is not – there is no easy way we can come to terms with the unreliability of a narrator who first wonders what has become of the ‘Bad Vicar’, then reveals himself to be the incumbent in question.”

The estimable Walt O’Hara of Airy Persiflage says: “Not for the faint of heart, Mr. Key’s spine tingling tale of a monstrous vicar of old and the evil that he wrought!” You can enjoy the pleasurably disconcerting experience of listening to the tale read by Mr O’Hara here.


The word “Medium” to me suggests a Victorian charlatan in a darkened room, summoning the spirits of the dead and spewing forth ectoplasm. “Medium” is also, I learn, the name of a new(ish?) bit of interwebbery, a repository for prose, a sort of amalgam of bloggery and twittering. Those more familiar with these matters could no doubt explain it better. But Hooting Yard is always bang up to the minute with the latest developments in technology, and not just L’Oreal’s light-reflecting booster technology. That is why Mr Key has taken a tentative step into Medium, by reposting that recent spot of wittering about surrealism.

I may add further pieces to the site, and you lot can all hie over there with your knapsacks and a packed lunch, and “recommend” me. Who knows if conquering Medium will be a profitable step on the path to our ultimate goal of Hooting Yard Global Dominion?

Gruel On Film!

Here is a date for the diaries of those of you lot who live in or around London. Next Saturday sees the London première of Sharon Smith’s film adaptation of A Recipe For Gruel at the BFI Southbank. It is being shown as part of the British Animation Awards – programme 2, on 8 February at 6.20 p.m. Mr Key will be in attendance (incognito, of course). Don’t miss the cinematic event of this, or any other, century!


The Two-Headed Pod

Those of you who have heard the inimitable Norm Sherman read my work will be happy to learn that the latest episode of the Drabblecast is a “double-header” featuring two tales from Hooting Yard. The show includes Pabstus Tack and The Breadcrumbs Man. It is worth pointing out that, when it came to recording a muffled ghostly contribution at the end of a telephone line, I was under the impression that Norm would be reading The Return Of Pabstus Tack, so that is the story I was talking about. Apparently that piece will now appear in a future edition.

Hie thee yon to go and listen, after which you may wish to add your observations to the Drabblecast Forum.


Monkey And Nougat

An eerie silence may have descended upon Hooting Yard itself over the past few weeks, but elsewhere our global outreach service has not been wholly idle.

Over at The Dabbler last Friday I considered self-esteem ‘n’ diversity awareness community hub nomenclature, with particular reference to the example set in South Africa, where some lucky tots attend A School Called Monkey.

Meanwhile, at the Drabblecast, golden-voiced Norm Sherman gives a reading of my thrilling space adventure The Nougat Nozzles Of Neptune. Many thanks are due to Salim Fadhley for arranging these matters.

Lopsided, Lugubrious

I spent yesterday recovering from the rigours of the Evening Of Lopsided Prose & Lugubrious Music at Woolfson & Tay held on Friday. Those of you who were unable to attend or who could not be dragged there by wild horses will be pleased to know that the whole kit and kaboodle was recorded by ResonanceFM (thanks to Chris Weaver and Johnny Seven) for broadcast as a Hooting Yard Special at a date to be announced, and thereafter as a pod thing. I shall alert you to these developments when I know the details.

I must also thank Shivaun Woolfson and Frances Tay, whose splendid independent bookshop / cafe / gallery hosted the event and who ensured the whole thing ran smoothly. I suggest all Hooting Yard devotees make a beeline for the shop whenever they are in London. It occurs to me that every now and then you may actually wish to read something other than my outpourings, in which case you will find a fine selection of books there.

Thanks too of course to Outa_Spaceman for joining me on singing and ukulele duty. I can neither sing nor play the ukulele, so that part of the evening would have been an absolute disaster without him. I am grateful too to Pansy Cradledew for her assistance during the Poetry Masterclass.

My only disappointment is that the assembled throng seemed not to understand I was delivering a series of serious lectures on topics as diverse as birds, owl gods, Virginia Woolf’s sausage and haddock dilemma, and seaweed heroes, and my talks were greeted with immoderate laughter and the occasional outbreak of hilarity. As I said in the programme notes, “unseemly pangs can be tempered by moral balance”. Do try to remember that next time, whenever the next time is.

poetry masterclass

Mr Key & Ms Cradledew explain poesy to the masses

Snap by Loz Flowers

Dead Or Out Of England

The splendid people at the increasingly essential Public Domain Review asked me to write a brief piece on a curious compilation of dog anecdotes published in 1895. You will of course drop everything to go and read it, and when you do please pay particular attention to the author’s apology, which I quote in full, and which contains the lovely line “the writers may be dead or out of England”, which somehow suggests that these are equivalent states. Perhaps they are.