Hooting Yard: Dobson on Sport

“In spite of the fact that he had fed his scribblings into the fire, the mere act of writing the words sport and sports two or three times sent Dobson whirling off on a new track. It was a morning of torrential rain, as usual, but Dobson donned a mackintosh and stomped out of the house. He was gone for hours. When he returned, sopping wet, he announced that he intended to write an Encyclopaedia of Sport based on an entirely novel classification. Instead of categorising sports into team and solo games, those using balls and those eschewing them, those that require bats, racquets, sticks and pucks and those that don’t, his work would instead approach the topic from what he called, immodestly, ‘a Dobsonian angle’.

“Swallowing a mouthful of toasted blob-cake, I asked him what he meant. He fixed me with those beady yet watery eyes and announced that he had, while walking along the lane that leads to the ruinous sump, devised six ‘bags’ of sporting activity; spindly, apprehensive, dashing, clotted, baleful and monkey-like. There was no known human sport, he shouted, growing hot with excitement, his arms windmilling, which could not be levered into one of these categories, and his task would be to draw out the ur-characteristics of each pastime.

  • An Outing (to the balsa-wood factory)
  • Swan News (eating swans is unacceptable)
  • Grebe
  • Dobson on Sport
  • Quote from “The Quaker Colonies” by Sydney G Fisher.
  • Quote from “Black Pool For Hell Maidens” by Hal K Wells.
  • Glib Hatter (which also appeared in this episode)
  • Trumpets and Banners (some truncated narration)

This episode was first broadcast on the 1st of June 2005. A complete transcript of “Hooting Yard on the Air” can be found on Frank Key’s official Hooting Yard website.