Sunday, 4 April 2010
I discovered Resonance 104.4 through an article in Record Collector.
I went to the site and discovered the 'Hooting Yard On The Air' podcasts.
I don't like having music as a constant back-drop to the dreary bits of my life, I like to hear people talking.
Most of all I like being told stories.
I used to drive a van around the south of England (I'd heard the word of J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs yet was a slave in the conspiracy of the pinks).
I filled my pod with all the Hooting Yard material I could find then began driving and listening.
I was approaching Farnbrough listening to 'A Stern Refutation' and began to wonder if the events described had actually taken place, if the people described actually existed and a shift in my perception took place.
I became convinced, still am, that Dobson had, or still did, exist, trudging about on canal tow paths, wearing the surplus boots of an obscure army, trying to make sense of a lopsided world by composing mimeographed pamphlets that nobody read.
As I fell deeper under the influence of Hooting Yard I began to notice it's landscape, fixtures and fittings everywhere.
During that period I was also under the spell of Steam Punk*. The two worlds were not incompatible yet, as I became more involved in the Hooting Yard experience, I realised that one of them had an infinitely wider horizon, was capable of comfortably moving in any time or space it pleased without having to resort to anachronism to paper over the cracks.
There are writers who have managed to create worlds that exist just around the corner from this one, Lewis Carrol, Leonard Barass, Spike Milligan, Edward Lear and Flan O'Brien for example.
Without hesitation I'd add Hooting Yard's creator Frank Key to that list.
Not to read Hooting Yard is to isolate one's self from a world of heroic infants rubbing shoulders with tug boat captains, extravagantly bouffanted composers drinking and fighting in seedy dockside taverns, Jesuit priests lurking in kiosks on abandoned seaside piers, bat gods haunting abandoned potato research stations, huge grunting ogres drinking from cisterns in horrible caves, and where diktats are being issued to Community Learning Hubs by suburban shamans.
In Hooting Yard anything can happen and that's the kind of world I want to live in.
*More of which in a forthcoming posting.