I Had a Hammer (in memory of Pete Seeger)


As a tribute to Pete Seeger, who passed away this week, here’s Frank’s unforgettable tale, I Had a Hammer

I had a hammer. I hammered in the morning. I hammered in the evening all over this land. I hammered out danger. I hammered out a warning. I hammered out love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land. They should have seen that coming. As I said, before I hammered the love out of them, I hammered out a warning. It was hardly my fault if they thought I was just larking about. Personally, if I had seen one of my siblings roaring towards me at dusk, armed with a hammer, I’d have made a run for it, particularly when it was clear I had been hammering things all day all over this land. Anyway, I had a good night’s sleep, and the next day I continued hammering. There was not much left to hammer in this land, so I crossed the border. I hammered the fence and the border guards, and then I had a happy day hammering everything that lay in my path in this new country. Bang bang bang, that was me, with the occasional dull thump if I hammered something soft and squishy. I didn’t discriminate. If I saw it, I hammered it, it really was as simple as that. But then I was fortunate to have such a good hammer. When my hammering was still in the planning stages, it was suggested to me that I should obtain a silver hammer from Maxwell’s. “Pshaw!” I said. I actually said “Pshaw!”, like a character in a bad play from the interwar years. But I was right to do so. Maxwell’s silver hammer was fashionable enough, in its time, but the kind of hammering I intended to do required something sturdier, a real thumper. So I got my hammer from Hubermann’s. I was so pleased with it that I hammered my way out of the shop, and didn’t stop hammering until I got home. It was the following day that I started to hammer all over this land. Then, the day after that, I hammered my way half way across the neighbouring land. It was much bigger, and much more densely packed with people and things, so I had a lot more hammering to do than in my own land. But eventually I got to the frontier, having hammered pretty much everything in sight. As I nestled down for the night in a border chalet, I inspected my hammer, and was pleased to see that it was almost as good as new. There were a couple of scuff-marks, and quite a lot of blood, but otherwise it looked as if it would serve me well for as long as I continued hammering, all over as many lands as I descended upon, like an angel of death, with my hammer.


By Aerostat to Hooting Yard: A Frank Key Reader is available to buy for Kindle from Amazon now.
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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

3 thoughts on “I Had a Hammer (in memory of Pete Seeger)

  1. johngjobling@googlemail.com'
    January 31, 2014 at 11:51

    Another riveting tale from Frank, planishing the hours away at the pein ball.

    What I found surprising about Seeger was, considering the girth of his CV, how come he wrote some of the most boring songs in the history of music, responsibility for spin-offs can be laid squarely at his door, the likes of Peter, Paul and Mary (Mary was the one without a beard). Joan Baez, what on earth was rumbling around inside of her head, the lady was, is, made of pure polyethylene granules. Accepting the fact that he was griping about something or other and we Brits lacked the equivalent something or other to gripe about in song and in any case our baddies at the time, well, what does rhyme with Wilson government or trade union movement and suicidal.

    A case of genuine cause morphing into motorised moaning.

  2. peter.burnet@hotmail.com'
    January 31, 2014 at 16:52

    OK, but without his old familiar standards, the righteous would never give us a break from Guantanamera.

  3. Gaw
    January 31, 2014 at 19:43

    Thanks Frank, a personal favourite that.

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