Thoughts On Presenting Hooting Yard On The Air For Years & Years

‘Twas brillig, and I babbled guff
Until my listeners cried “Enough!”
And stopped my gob with a plug of dough
And then it was that I knew woe.

A woe such as I’d never known
Not e’en when I was skin and bone
In starveling days of pimply youth
Before I grew so fat forsooth.

Fat and loud and babbling guff,
All roister doister swagger and puff,
Puffed up like one of those eerie toads
That leap at you from beside the roads.

Well, at least, they leap at moi.
I wrote of them in my memoir,
The text of which is what I brayed
Hoping to make my listeners afraid.

Instead they plugged my gob with dough
And brought me down so very low
That now my life is full of woe
And it is time for me to go.

Go where? To the seaside I suppose
To my seaside chalet o’ prose
To thump my typewriter’s leaden keys
And write of hornets, wasps, and bees.

Good Housekeeping

I am attempting to do a spot of Hooting Yard housekeeping, delving into the terrifying innards of WordPress to tweak this website here & there. Frankly, I find my brain befuddled, but progress is being made, albeit slowly.

Thus far, I have managed to make a couple of updates to the sidebar. A while ago, ResonanceFM discontinued its podcasts and, as far as I know, erased them from history. I haven’t worked out how to remove the podcasty links over to your right, but I have inserted a link to the Hooting Yard audio archive on Mixcloud. Shows are available there almost as soon as they have been broadcast.

I recently trod in the puddle of Instagram, and have added a sidebar link so you lot can go and look at pictures posted by out_of_print_pamphleteer.

I shall keep you informed of further refinements if my brain doers not overheat in the meantime.

UPDATE : I’ve also inserted a sidebar Archives section, where you can browse through the morass of potsages [sic] month by month.

FURTHER UPDATE : Those podcast links have now been excised. See the Comments, however, for Old Resonance Hooting Yard Podcasts News, and watch this space …

Unspeakable Babbling

In this week’s episode of your favourite radio programme, Mr Key discusses the cravat of an unspeakable cad, a village full of cheesegraters, birds and bats and the Bible and the BBC, and, last but not least, lint, with particular reference to some godawful power ballads.

As if that were not enough to have you swooning with unalloyed ear-pleasure, the show features the return of Miss Blossom Partridge and her knitting tips. Is there, or has there ever been, anything on the radio to compare with the sheer moral heft of this programme?

The Brillig Case

‘Twas brillig, again, but the slithy toves were nowhere to be seen. And that wasn’t all. The borogoves were anything but mimsy, and the mome raths ingrabe. It was the most baffling case yet to have landed on the desk of Detective Captain Cargpan at the Pointy Town Police Station & Ice Rink.

Cargpan headed immediately to St Bibblybibdib’s church for Mass. He was a Roman Catholic so devout that he bore the stigmata, though in his case the marks were made by human rather than divine agency. He had had them tattooed on to his hands and feet and side. The tattooist, more accustomed to ornamenting the flesh of hairy leather-clad rock fans, had executed Christ’s wounds in the form of heavy metal umlauts. As a result, it looked as if Cargpan was displaying double stigmata, with the inference that he had suffered more than Christ. When accused of such blasphemy, the world-weary detective would reply “Perhaps I have, perhaps I have”.

After Mass, he went to confession. The priest, Father Tonguelash, was a keen student of the human heart, and Cargpan often relied on his insight.

I am sore perplexed by this brillig case, Father,” he moaned.

Moan not, my child,” said the priest, “For was it not the lately deceased psychopathic philosopher Manson who said ‘No sense makes sense’?”

Armed with this intelligence, and twenty Hail Marys later, Cargpan returned to his desk at the Pointy Town Police Station & Ice Rink. He immediately set about creating a filing system, of small rectangular pieces of cardboard shoved, alphabetically into a lockable metal cabinet. This was to be the artificial “brain” of the brillig case.

In the days following, Cargpan went to Mass several more times, smoked hundreds of cigarettes, and sat in his parked car next to the reservoir, gazing for hours and hours at herons and egrets and grebes and little grebes and a Jubjub. He turned over and over in his mind, in uffish thought, the words spoken by Father Tonguelash.

Somehow he knew that, as in a Scandinavian television series, the case would end with him apprehending a supremely clever and well-resourced serial killer, whose base of operations would be an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town, within which was a panoply of fearsomely complicated equipment and a fiendish plan laid out, photographs and diagrams and documents pinned up and spread over an entire wall, rather than kept neatly in a ring binder.

But before he could make the arrest, Cargpan had to identify the malefactor. Who was his manxsome foe? He sat by the reservoir as darkness fell.

And then, several impossibly blood-soaked murders later, on a frabjous day, the perp came whiffling and burbling through the tulgey wood. Cargpan was there to nab him. It was his Father Confessor, Ninian Tonguelash SJ!

In the next season of Cargpan, Detective Captain Cargpan is on the case of the so-called “Snark”, a serial killer who also turns out to be a (spoiler alert) Jesuit priest!

Memories Of The Sibodnedwabshire Piggeries

Those who grew up in Sibodnedwabshire are forever haunted by memories of its piggeries, in the shadow of those Blue Forgotten Hills. The hills may be – oh mercifully! – forgotten, but the piggeries are not. Consider the song, still sung, or croaked, by aged decrepit Sibodnedwabshireites in the cobwebbed rumpus rooms of their hospices:

The hopes and fears of all the years
The cutman with his rusty shears
The orphans wet behind the ears
Oh swine of Sibodnedwabshire

It is not a pretty song.

There were a dozen piggeries in all, each penning dozens of pigs, except for the one that was empty of pigs, the one everybody remembers with a shudder, its piglessness both eerie and ridiculous. There was mud there, of course, mud aplenty, but not a single pig to wallow in it. The only things living in that mud were worms, tiny wriggling albino worms, worms from a child’s nightmare.

Wormy nightmares, but piggy dreams. So many dreamers dreaming of those remembered pigs in the piggeries that there is now a clinical term – PTSD, or Pig-Themed Sibodnedwabshire Dreaming. In their dotage now, those who were long long ago the tots of Sibodnedwabshire have their hospice pillows embroidered with pig motifs, the better to prompt their dreams.

What of the cutman, with his rusty shears? He would fly in, over the Blue Forgotten Hills, every Sunday, in his biplane, and come into land at the aerodrome. Accompanied by the Shire Stymonsieur, he would tour the twelve piggeries, yes, even that eerie and ridiculous pigless piggery, bandying his shears, encrusted with rust, and singing his song.

I am the cutman, come to the shire
My heart as hot as an Elmo fire
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
Oh swine of Sibodnedwabshire

It was not a pretty song.