The New Look

For a number of reasons, it has proved necessary to faff about with the technical gubbins lurking behind the Hooting Yard website, hence this new look. My – and your – thanks are due to the boffin who worked tirelessly to ensure the whole thing is still here on the internet. He has now gone away to a foreign land for a well-deserved break.

Inevitably, there will be a few teething problems. I noted, for example, that the index to the Archives, making them accessible by date and topic under the tab above, has vanished. I know that most of you lot spend virtually all your waking hours reading, rereading, and rerereading the ten years’ worth of potsages [sic] gathered here, so until we fix that, upon the boffin’s return, I suggest you make use of the Search box to rummage around.

Please let me know of any other blips, bloops, or catastrophic horrors you may spot, and we shall endeavour to put things straight.

Ono Again

I would not wish readers to miss a comment posted by Max Décharné on Ms Ono’s birthday, so I have yanked it out and place it here for your edification:

Frank, inspired by your call to arms, I immediately wrote and staged a three-hour chirpy Cockney knees-up musical based upon the lives of our two multi-millionaire heroes, entitled “John & Yoko – I Should Coco,” in which the whole cast and audience bring the Grade 2-listed house down with a rousing final chorus of “Yes! Imagine We Have No Bananas, I Wonder If You Can?”


Nomenclature News

The mother of a famous cellist was absolutely obsessed with a children’s toy, so much so that, when she gave birth to the future maestro, she decided to name him after it. This was later reported in the magazine Nomenclature Of Cellists Incorporating Tots’ Playthings Plus Palindromes under the headline Yo Yo Ma’s Ma’s Yo Yo.

Geriatric Rogue

American TV executives have announced a sequel to the hit series Breaking Bad. Creaking Cad will follow the adventures of a geriatric rogue as he breaks the hearts of innocent ladies in New Mexico. Rumours of further series, including Freaking Fad and Wreaking Wad, are thus far unconfirmed.



I had a large shallow pan of “milk cake” on a cooker. The cooker was in the form of a basic four-legged table. The pan had overheated, and underneath the table ethereal blue flames flickered. Crawling under the table, I extinguished the flames by waving a dainty teaspoon.

What can it all mean?

Calamities And Disasters

I noticed that on BBC1 yesterday there was the first in a short series of programmes called Titanic With Len Goodman – Mr Goodman being one of the judges from Strictly Come Dancing. It is a curious combination of presenter and subject, and I wonder if we can look forward to Hindenburg With Alesha Dixon, The Munich Air Disaster With Bruno Tonioni, The Tay Bridge Disaster With Craig Revel-Horwood, The Lisbon Earthquake With Arlene Phillips, and, perhaps, The Black Death With Tess Daly.



I thought it prudent, when making preparations for last Friday’s Evening Of Lugubrious Music & Lopsided Prose, to provide the audience with a list of instructions, to ensure they conducted themselves properly. After all, one does not want to have to interrupt one’s babbling to have to deal with fits of the vapours, noisy potato crisp munching, or other distractions. The printed programme for the evening thus included this list, which may be of use to other performers:


I. Please remain seated during the more exciting moments.

II. If for any reason you need to mop your brow, use a dainty napkin.

III. Spillages must be paid for in coinage of the realm.

IV. When the Darning-Needle of Destiny is unveiled, cower.

V. Unseemly pangs may be tempered by moral balance.

VI. Applause should be rendered with unbridled fanaticism.

VII. Drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern, until I come and take you away (Isaiah, 36 : 16,17)

Further Notes

That conversation, continued…

Elberry : what pillow do you use? is it stuffed with the feathers of birds or the skulls of mice?

Frank Key : An admixture of cotton wool and sand, wrens’ feathers and wolf hair

Elberry : and the sand, can you expand on its provenance? do you use the sand from the Alamogordo Test Range, or common or garden sand? is it related to the sand nightly deployed by the Sandman? Is it sand from the sandy road of Eliot’s Waste Land?

Frank Key : It is coarse sand, dredged from the vasty deep, then spread out, by much raking, to dry under a Panglossian sun, before being poured into the pillowcase through a gorgeous ornate metalwork funnel

Elberry : How do you do the dredging? Do you have an industrial dredging machine?

Frank Key : I use a mighty concrete dredger barge, built to Lambot’s original design rather than the later Gabellini or Edison models.

Elberry : i used to teach at Zeppelin, i think they make dredging machines but i am unsure if they are suitable for vasty deeps. Could you just use a spade? i ask as i thought about doing a bit of light dredging, to keep fit

Frank Key : Use of a spade beneath the vasty deeps is fraught with risk, but will undoubtedly boost your manliness. Or you might drown.

Elberry : Heroes don’t drown, they dredge.

Notes On A Chuckle

Further to my report, last Saturday, of a Facebook Facecloth postage and subsequent comment, here is another. I will not be making a habit of this, but last night’s brief exchange of comments with Elberry is, I think, worth noting here.

I chuckled at a comment I read appended to a postage on the Grauniad’s Comment Is Free site, and so, on Facecloth, noted

A Comment Is Free comment over at The Grauniad : “Groan, and so the Guardian descends still further into being an upmarket version of Black Flag for the under 16s.” I chuckled.

The subsequent dialogue with Elberry went as follows

Elberry : more on the nature of this chuckling please, the sound, duration, effect on passers-by, etc.

Frank Key : Grating and somehow tragic, forty-nine seconds, solicitude, offers of loose change, thumpings.

Elberry : does it excite frenzies, sexual or otherwise?

Frank Key : Only in the raddled hearts of the unseemly

Elberry : is it pure to the pure, if the pure are privy to these terrible eruptions?

Frank Key : Alas, there are tincts

Elberry : would you consider removing these safeguards, so the many- headed rabble may hark to your mirth, and take heart therefrom?

Frank Key : I will consider it, while my head is upon the pillow, and I snooze, imminently

After tippy-tapping which, I retired to bed, rested my head upon the pillow, and snoozed. Alas, I did not after all consider removing any chuckle safeguards.