Hooteninny – God of “Business Meetings”

A man with a slight resemblance to Steven Doyle is wearing a Santa jacket and a paper party crown on his head. He is carrying a tray of cheese and a bottle of wine called "Chateau Lie-Feat". On his back there is a sack of trophies and medals. Someone has pinned a donkey's tail on his behind.
Hooteninny © H.Hudson-Lee 2021

Hooteninny is the God of “Business Meetings”, and never have a pair of quotation marks been so heavily weighted. In fact, his followers make the “air quotes” hand sign when they say his name, in much the same way as a Catholic would genuflect.

Hooteninny is the son of Hujanus the “Do As I Say Not As I Do” demon and Incontigate the Goddess of Embarrassing Leaks. He started out, sometime in the 1980s, as a minor deity of liquid “business lunches” and even more fluid “executive team-building weekends”. In the 1990s he branched out into watching over “fact-finding trips” and “corporate gifts”. If the activity in question breaks a few rules, then that just makes it a greater expression of devotion to the god, and more fun. It was during the 2020 pandemic that he finally came into his own as a major deity when the ranks of his cult were swelled by a flock of political aides who just wanna have fun. Hooteninny’s is an easy religion to follow, as you don’t need to overly concern yourself with following the rules and, usually, it is others who make the sacrifices.  

The sacred winter festival of Hooteninny is also known as, “The No-Masque of the Blue Death”. It is held clandestinely somewhere in a central government building. The threshold must be guarded by a phalanx of the Metropolitan Police’s finest, who have absolutely no idea what is taking place inside, or who is in there. Despite being in charge of door security. How these brave officers manage to discharge their duties despite being deaf, blind and greener than a Brussel sprout, I don’t know.

To set the right mood for the ritual, the priesthood will festoon themselves with tinsel and put on a playlist of their sacred “Hip-hopcracy” music. You may know some of the more famous tracks, such as, “Simply Having a Meeting with Cheese and Wine”, “Fairy-Tale of New Pork Pies” and “Christmas Time (Let’s be a Bell End)”. They put out a good buffet spread, with the savoury dainties artfully displayed on paper Steven Doylies. The ambiance is further helped along by draping festive decorations elegantly over the CCTV cameras. If a few grieving covid-bereaved relatives and traumatised NHS workers can be seen sobbing in the snow outside the window, so much the better. It really adds to that Dickensian theme.

To warm up the congregation and break the ice, the senior priesthood will lead them in a series of games. Sorry. “Essential training exercises”. These exercises include old favourites such as Musical Cabinet Reshuffle, Pin the Blame on the Immigrant and Sajid Says. All this generates an atmosphere of, “Whilst the cat’s away, the mice play.” Which somehow persists even after the cat shows up to lead the quiz. The quiz questions are pitched at quite a low level. Such as, “What is three hundred thousand, and thirty-four, nine hundred and seventy-four thousand plus one?” (You must remember that the majority of Hooteninny’s followers have the unfortunate educational disadvantage of having attended Public School). If the “cat” had a bit more wit, he might have slipped in a question like, “For 20 bonus points – Name five MPs planning a leadership challenge in the New Year.” Which would have made planning the “quick-fire” round much simpler.

The proceedings end with a presentation of awards to the worthiest worshippers. Each follower hopes to be recognised as this year’s, “Spin King” or “Best Pressed” or perhaps win the “Best Dead Cat Distraction” prize. Some of the awards are more tongue-in-cheek, such as “PM’s Pet”, “Cabinet Clown” or “Most Likely to Mysteriously Avoid Jail”. If you see someone stratton’ around Westminster wearing a small bronze lapel pin in the shape of the door to Number 10, you’ll know they were a winner.

Now, the first rule of Hooteninny’s Cult is that you don’t make jokes about Hooteninny Cult, on film, at a mock press conference. Should the general public find out about one of these rituals having taken place it looks very, very bad. The attendees have to decide whether to admit to being at a prohibited gathering, or to boozing on the job. Either way, not a good look. In this instance, the two priests who officiated the rite must sacrifice themselves by falling on their own swords. One must do this immediately when the story first breaks, and other has to wait until the official inquiry report is released.

If you are considering following the way of Hooteninny as a good example of how to live your life… …please, please choose a better example.

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