Hooting Yard: The Bobnit Tivol Variety Half-Hour

For many years in the last century Mudchute was the home of a monomaniac. Actually, to call Caspian Sea Spanglebag a monomaniac is not strictly true, for he had not one but two abiding obsessions.

The first, which is of little interest to us, was his conviction that the tyrant of the Soviet Union was called Josef Starling, while the heroine of Thomas Harris’ The Silence Of The Lambs was named Clarice Stalin. Being bonkers, Spanglebag was unmoved by the facts that the moustachioed and heavily pockmarked dictator chose the pseudonym “Man of Steel” in preference to his real name of Djugashvili, and that the troubled FBI rookie is a fictional character.

But it was the Mudchute man’s belief that hendiadys is a disease afflicting poultry, rather than a figure of speech, which consumed most of his energies. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Spanglebag declared war on the makers of dictionaries, lexicons, grammars and encyclopaedias. Most of the major publishers of reference books have somewhere in their archives a fat file containing letters with that Mudchute postmark, all written by pencil in tiny, tiny handwriting, their tone varying from mild complaint to violent menace. One example will suffice.

I purchased the latest edition of your wordbook, writes Spanglebag on 23rd June 1989, and was surprised to see you define hendiadys as “a figure of speech in which two words connected by a conjunction are used to express a single notion that would normally be expressed by an adjective and a substantive; the use of two conjoined nouns instead of a noun and modifier”. You then go on to list instances from the Bible, such as “a mouth and wisdom” in Luke 21:15, and “the hope and resurrection of the dead” in Acts 23:6. I do not take kindly to spending money on such drivel, and have torn your worthless book to shreds, and I would have scattered those shreds to the winds from atop a hill, were there any high hills in Mudchute, which there are not, so instead I steeped the shreds in buckets of water until they were but pulp, yes! pulp. Please correct your gruesome error in future editions, or I will ensure you become the laughing stocks of the reference book world, and you will weep with shame.

  • Railway Forecast
  • “Hendiadys In Mudchute”, pertaining to Caspian Sea Spanglebag, a monomaniac
  • Fan Fiction Fad (contributed by R Hanrahan)
  • Gods ( a story you may recognise from the episode called “Gods” )
  • Last Night’s Dream (about Roy Kinnear)
  • Netherlands, Holland, Dutch – What’s That About?

This episode was originally broadcast on August 17th 2005. Full transcripts of this episode can be found on the Hooting Yard Website.