Hooting Yard: The Magic Mountain (Updated)

Update: The wrong audio was attached, it’s been fixed now. Sorry!

Some readers will be familiar with the career of the Sino-Dutch artist Ah-Fang Van Der Houygendorp, the man who invented potato-peel engravure. Few people know, however, that he was a keen mountaineer. Keen and inept, that is. Ah-Fang was, if nothing else, a visionary, and he had visions of a haunted mountain, its peak shrouded in inexplicable purple mists like something out of a novel by M P Shiel. Whenever he sat shivering in his tent at base camp, Ah-Fang wondered if this mountain, the one he was about to climb, was the haunted mountain of his mind’s eye. He would poke his head out of the frayed flap of his tent, peer up at the majestic rock formation disappearing into the clouds above, and wonder if this, at last, would be the one he had dreamed of since childhood, where he would come face to face with the uncanny, the ineffable.

Physically, Ah-Fang was not really cut out for mountaineering. He was described by a contemporary as “a figure of untold puniness”, and he was indeed tiny and weak, short-sighted, lanky and prone to swooning fits. He was terrified of gnats, horseflies and fruitbats. He had an oversensitive digestive system and had to subsist mostly on thin soup or broth. It was difficult to find a mountaineering team willing to recruit so wretched a specimen, so Ah-Fang did most of his clambering up sheer rock faces solo, a man alone testing himself against the elements.

  • Dobson on Peas
  • Quotation from The Lady’s Vase by “An American Woman”
  • The Magic Mountain
  • Crisis in the Sedge
  • My Little Blind Dolly
  • Quotation from The Talking Deaf Man (The Human Voice)

This episode was first broadcast on October 12th 2005. A complete transcript of this episode can be found on the Hooting Yard website.