Archive for the 'Imminent Mental Collapse' Category

A Question About Bats

I have not bothered to look this up in any reference books, so please forgive me if the answer is blindingly obvious.

What, I would like to know, is the quality inherent in the excrement expelled by bats that is related to human madness? I am thinking of the phrase batshit crazy. We do not commonly say, for example, catshit crazy or giraffeshit crazy or puff-addershit crazy, or at least I have not heard these phrases used at the sort of swish sophisticated cocktail parties I try to barge my way into. But reference to the droppings of bats is made frequently.

Answers in the Comments please, unless you are batshit crazy yourself, in which case you would be more appropriately occupied reading something by Will Self.

The Christmas Baby-God

May the mewling and gurgling of the Christmas Baby-God warm the cockles of all Hooting Yard readers on this day and throughout the coming twelvemonth.


On The Blink

Mr Key’s computer is on the blink. It is to be hoped normal service will be resumed as soon as possible,

Caption Competition


A Gent In Ghent

I am off to Belgium for a bit. Upon my return, I will strive – well, if not every sinew, then at least some of the more sinewy ones, to revive Hooting Yard so that it is once again a busy and bustling thoroughfare o’ prose.

82 Today!

The world’s leading exponent of avant garde oriental shadow puppetry celebrates her birthday today. Let’s all send her some money!


An Important Anniversary

Peter Blegvad, from “The Unborn Byron”:

Spread the word, tomorrow morn
A future poet shall be born.
From my mother I shall fall
Into the womb that holds us all.
My life shall be a meteor
Which generations shall adore.
For my unbuttoned liberty
The unborn will remember me.

Mr Key, from “The Tiny Newborn Mr Key”:

1959, this very morn
The tiny Mr Key was born
He was a full month premature
When he knocked his fist upon the door
Of the world beyond his mother’s womb
A tiny bright spark in the gloom
And soon the words poured out of him
They pour out still, with ceaseless vim.

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.

Standard Irish Poem No.1

I can see my father now
With his spade
Digging up potatoes
In a field
As rain pours down
Then trudging back
His boots in the muck
To the filthy cottage
Where my mother clutches her rosary beads
And prays to the Blessed Virgin
For more rain
And more potatoes
To feed the visiting priest

Sci-Fi For Diabetics

I am sniffy about science fiction. The genre does not appeal to me. Over the years I have read several sci-fi books – or SF, or speculative fiction, or whatever the preferred term is these days – and though I have enjoyed some of them, mildly, I feel no great urge to read more widely in the field. Similarly with the cinema – there are a few sci-fi films I like, but in general I will actively avoid them. I have never, for example, seen Star Wars, nor any of its seemingly inordinate sequels and prequels. Despite not having seen it, I tend to agree with the critic who suggested that its success destroyed American cinema. The vast majority of films churned out by Hollywood are pap, and pap of a certain kind, for which George Lucas is to be held personally responsible.

In addition to being sniffy about sci-fi, I am also diabetic. Until recently, these two parts of my life could coexist without hoo-hah. I have to jab myself with insulin daily, as a direct result of the debaucheries of my Wilderness Years. I do not find this particularly onerous, and if anything it acts as a useful reminder not to revisit those chaotic stupidities.

But a few weeks ago, after seeing a consultant whose resemblance to Brian Eno is so eerily close that I would swear Brain One is moonlighting as an NHS doctor, my regimen was changed. Instead of injecting one type of insulin (Novomix), Brian recommended my diabetes would be better managed by using two different preparations. It is the names of these that make me feel, daily, like a collaborator in some awful sci-fi adventure.

I do not know who is responsible for the nomenclature of insulin solutions. Whomsoever it is clearly gave no thought to the psychic damage wrought upon my tattered nerves by forcing me to inject Humalog and the even more sci-fi-sounding Lantus Solostar.

In hindsight, Novomix itself sounds like the name of a distant star in a galaxy far far away. One imagines it as the setting where dashing space hero Lantus Solostar does battle with the bumbling robots known as Humalogs.

God give me strength.


Lantus Solostar

Which Out Of Print Dobson Pamphlet Are You?

This potsage [sic] has been removed because:

(a) The Dobson estate slapped me with a cease-and-desist order

(b) There are far too many out of print Dobson pamphlets to choose from

(c) I haven’t got the faintest idea how to replicate the format of those immensely irritating quizzes that have spread across Het Internet like an ague

(d) All of the above

(e) None of the above

Earworm Challenge

Diligent readers who commit to memory everything that I have ever written (that is, most of you) will recall that somewhere or other I bemoaned the fact that my brainpans are assailed by a persistent earworm. It is my fate to suffer, rattling around inside my bonce, day in day out, the strains of Merry Xmas (War Is Over) by Mr Lennon and Ms Ono, augmented by a choir of tinies. Why this is so, I cannot say. All I can assume is that I must have done something awful in a previous life and the gods have seen fit to torment me in a particularly cruel way.

Now, perhaps, there is a gleam of hope. For the past week or so, the Yuletide caterwaulings of the Beatle and the woman Cornelius Cardew threw out of his house have been replaced. But my new earworm is, it has to be said, somewhat challenging. I am now beset by Henry Cow’s Living In The Heart Of The Beast, which takes over a quarter of an hour to work its way through my poor cranium. This is indubitably more welcome, but I do ask myself why I can’t have a snappy snippet of pop music, which is what an earworm ought to be.

Incidentally, for those of you who care about such things, Living In The Heart Of The Beast was written (by Tim Hodgkinson) during the period of collaboration between Henry Cow and Slapp Happy. The music was given to Peter Blegvad, who was instructed to supply lyrics. He came up with something about chickens. “This won’t do at all.” pronounced Hodgkinson, who proceeded to write his own words, of a more Marxist-Leninist bent. Shortly afterwards, Blegvad was dismissed from the merged group for “flippancy”.

Fruit Query

My brother poses a question:

Why are there no bananas in Poland?

Answers on a postcard, please …

Summer Recess

In correspondence received the other day, one of my readers described the eerie Hooting Yard silence as a “summer recess”. This is a splendid way to think about what otherwise might be considered the alarming emptiness in my bonce. So a quasi-official summer recess it is, punctuated by the occasional brief spot of blather.

Meanwhile, you can go and read about Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich & Wynken, Blynken & Nod in The Dabbler, and you can hear the great Norm Sherman reading A Weekend With An Owl God on the latest Drabblecast. As Norm says, if you don’t love Frank Key, you don’t know what love is …

Mislaid Mojo

I have often said, in recent years, that I do not believe in the concept of “writer’s block”. I think it is used as a fiddlefaddle excuse by the idle and the indigent, or perhaps by those who prefer swanning about and gallivanting to the Johnsonian drudgery of sitting at a keyboard and bashing the stuff out.

And while it is true, I think, that one does just have to sit there and tippy-tap until the cows come home, I am now prepared to admit that it is entirely possible to do so while filling the pages with twaddle. This is what has happened to me of late. The results of my writing routine have been such godawful piffle that you lot should think yourselves fortunate that I have declined to post any of them here.

I would like to think that I have mislaid my mojo, rather than lost it entirely. The dilemma I face is whether to go searching for it, or simply to wait for it to come crawling back, like a surly dog. Speaking of dogs, here is a dog: