Papist Dabbling

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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.

Dabbler Diary

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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.



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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.


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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:


Back In Blighty, The Worse For Wear

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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).

Brute Beauty And Valour And Dabbling

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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.

Dabbling In Ponds

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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.