Over at The Dabbler this week I offer some advice to the conclave of cardinals before they gather to elect a new Pontiff. I would quite like to be Pope myself, standing on a balcony bestowing blessings upon a throng of the faithful. Alas, I am afraid that just at the time the redhats gather in Rome I shall be rejoining the international jet set and heading off in the opposite direction, bent on important Hooting Yard business in the New World. Further details to follow, but any fanatical devotees who are in New York City on the fourth of March may wish to clear their diaries.
Over at The Dabbler today, a bonus extra diary entry, for this day nineteen years ago, written by a nonagenarian Russian exile in Spain. Anthony Burgess is mentioned in the text, which gives me an excuse to remind you lot of his biographer Roger Lewis’ matchless description of the Mancunian polymath’s hair:
And how are we going to describe his hair? The yellowish-white powdery strands were coiled on his scalp like Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s peruke, not maintained since Prince Vlad the Impaler fought off the Turks in the Carpathian mountains in 1462. What does it say about a man that he could go around like that, as Burgess did? Though he was a king of the comb-over (did the clumps and fronds emanate from his ear-hole?), no professional barber can be blamed for this. I thought to myself, he has no idea how strange he is. What did he think he looked like? He evidently operated on his own head with a pair of garden shears.
Over at The Dabbler you can read an unbearably exciting one-act play entitled True Adventures Of The Child Of Gumption. In the comments, Gaw remarks that he can imagine Peter Jackson at work on a trilogy of film adaptations. You will all be pleased to hear that my people are talking to his people and we think we may be able to stretch it over nine films, a trilogy of trilogies.
Over at The Dabbler today you will find Old Key’s Almanacke, a list of a dozen prognostications of what will befall us in the coming twelvemonth. The spooky thing about Old Key is that he has been proved unerringly accurate, time and time again. I am not entirely sure who he is, or was, other than that his papers were discovered in a shoebox underneath a sink in a cubby in an old manse perched on a windswept hillside. The papers, bound into a series of Almanackes, had been piddled upon by generations of feral cats. On the rotting linoleum next to the shoebox lay a wand and a pointy hat. They too had been piddled upon, by something bigger and more terrible than a feral cat.
Over at The Dabbler today I have exhumed, and slightly tweaked, a very long sentence which first appeared as part of the text of Crop Circles : The Crunlop Experiment, an out of print pamphlet from the last century. In the comments, Brit suggests that “Ikea would reduce all that to three simple yet bewildering black-and-white pictures”, which reminded me of the diagram accompanying another Hooting Yard craft project from 2004, to wit:
You will be thrilled to learn that Mr Key has returned to Blighty after his frolics on foreign shores. But before popping open that celebratory can of Squelcho! and throwing your hat in the air, bear in mind that I am a sick and snuffle-headed man, much given over the past few days to lying prostrate with my hand held to my forehead, like Bulle Ogier in Celine And Julie Go Boating, whimpering.
I did manage to drag my bones to Resonance yesterday to declaim prose into a microphone for thirty minutes, and I cobbled together an anecdote about my holiday for The Dabbler. Other than that, prose has failed to pour out of me. Further dispatches from Hooting Yard soon, God willing. But for now, I am going to suck a Strepsil (honey and lemon).
This week my cupboard in The Dabbler contains an exclusive, and scintillating, review of my new paperback Brute Beauty And Valour And Act, Oh, Air, Pride, Plume, Here Buckle! I wrote the review myself, so nobody else would have to. The best thing to do is to go and read it, and then make purchase of several copies of the book, wait for it to plop through your letterbox, then read the book itself, from cover to cover, repeatedly, until the unfathomable wisdom contained therein is drummed into your brain.
Over at The Dabbler this week I take Peter Hitchens to task over the important subjects of knapsacks and trained owls.
I am suddenly reminded of the saying An owl in a sack troubles no man, which as far as I remember was a winning entry in a long ago New Statesman competition to devise plausible-sounding yet wholly spurious proverbs.
Each weekend in The Dabbler there is a “Lazy Sunday Afternoon” postage of music choices. This week I have contributed a selection including Captain Beefheart, Henry Cow, 1970s-era Scritti Politti, and Joanna Newsome. Hie thee hence and pin back your ears!
This week in The Dabbler I take the opportunity to remind readers of the finest quiz game ever devised by humankind. Hooting Yardists, I know, have long ago fallen under its spell and probably fritter away at least two hours every day playing it. I know I do.
Earlier in the week I posted one of my rare snaps, of an urban swan. It is reproduced today in my cupboard at The Dabbler, accompanied by a brief explanatory text – a text which is basically an excuse to bang on for the umpteenth time about that curiously persistent obsession of mine, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and his fondness for dining on electrocuted whooper swans.
There are, apparently, half a million ponds in Britain. This is not nearly enough for the charity organisation Pond Conservation, which has plans afoot to double the number, presumably to the point where the country is more pond than land. I turn my attention to the Million Ponds Project over at The Dabbler this week. Warning : contains bloodsucking leeches and bloodcurdling screams.
Over in my cupboard at The Dabbler, find out what happens when E L James and Steve Bruce collide!
To celebrate the “Little Holiday” yesterday, my piece in The Dabbler this week is a potted history of the Muggletonians. Read, and learn, and declaim curses!
So empty was my poor pea-sized brain yesterday that I forgot to mention this week’s piece in my cupboard at The Dabbler, wherein I tell of the world-shattering discovery by boffins of the Higgs Key boson. It’s a thrilling tale sure enough.