• Message from James Clarke

    "South Africa's Best Humour Columnist"

    - SA's Comedy Awards September 2008

    “South Africa’s funniest columnist.”

    - Financial Mail


    The name is Clarke. James Clarke. I have been told by people who know their way around the electronic world with its iPads, USBs, processors, modems, 500 gb hard drives, Blackberries and microwave ovens, that as a writer I have to have a blogsite. Otherwise, I am told, it is like passing oneself off as a CEO and you haven’t a leather chair that tilts back.

    Yet after four years of having a blogsite I still don’t really understand what it is or how it helps sell my books which is my major concern in life apart from not stepping on cracks when walking on the pavement.

    I am also told that on a blogsite it is customary to refer to oneself in the third person. This enables one to grossly exaggerate ones attainments without appearing to have done so personally.

    Not being one to buck the system...

    London-born James Clarke is your average tall, dark, handsome fellow who writes books – fiction and non-fiction. As a humorist he has been compared with PG Wodehouse and James Thurber. (The Daily Bugle in Des Moines said “compared with the works of PG Wodehouse and James Thurber, Clarke’s writing isn’t worth a row of beans”.)

    He long ago settled in South Africa where he became a mover and a shaker in the world of the environmental sciences. As a youth, being a mover and a shaker, had made it impossible for him to follow in his father’s footsteps as a bottler in a nitro-glycerine plant. Hence he turned to journalism.

    But around the time he retired a few years ago he found a new pursuit as a humorist. He wrote a daily humour column in the Johannesburg Star (now syndicated) and began turning out books of humour in the UK and South Africa.

    Clarke very recently moved boldly into the electronic publishing world. It was, he said afterwards, like a non-swimmer diving into a pool without first testing its depth.

    In November 2011 he re-issued his latest book of humour, “Blazing Saddles”, as an Amazon Kindle e-book under the title “Blazing Bicycle Saddles”. For a mere US$4.99 you can download a copy of this seminal cycling book in a matter of seconds by clicking here ....


    He did this with the full realisation that he is totally at sea in the electronic world with its telephones that take movies and receive faxes and sports results.

    The original edition of “Blazing Saddles”, published by Jonathan Ball, has been out of print for two years. It reveals the true story of how six retired men – five of them journalists – year after year set out (intrepidly) from the African continent on a series of exploratory expeditions cycling into “Darkest Europe” to bring back to the people of Africa tales of its funny natives.

    Clarke will also shortly be publishing, via Amazon.com, another of his action-packed autobiographical books – this time an account of his Second World War exploits as L*E*A*D*E*R of the Yellow Six Patrol of the 1st Streetly Boy Scouts in the English Midlands. He recounts the patrol’s ceaseless campaign to defeat Adolf Hitler’s plan to invade England.

    You can read about “The Yellow Six” within this blogsite.

    Clarke, apart from moving and shaking, is a travel writer and proud father of two highly successful daughters – one a biologist and the other an environmental impact analyst. He and his wife, Lenka, live north of Johannesburg.

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What happened to the real James Bond

Britain’s M15 says secret agents are “beyond it” by 50. – report.


Bond appeared in the doorway, “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Grant of M15 said, “Who?”

“You know,” said Bond, “007! Licensed to kill and all that.”

“And all what?”

“Well, it depends on the season… but I’m also licensed to drive a vehicle that can do 320km/h, with machine guns in the hubcaps and an 88mm cannon disguised as an exhaust pipe and a grenade launcher in the boot and…”

“What on earth do you drive – a Soweto taxi?”

“An Aston Martin, actually.”

“Isn’t that a football team?”

“You’re thinking of Aston Villa,” said Bond.

Grant, “Anyway, old man, the name’s Grant, Sebastian Grant, 9800956. If you’ve been sent by Sir Andrew, I suggest we  move!”

Grant vaulted through the window to avoid being seen by those who (or even whom) he knew would be watching the front entrance. He landed lightly, three floors down. Bond followed, but landed astride some railings. He winced visibly and Grant, retrieving Bond’s tripod walker, noticed the old man’s eyes smarted, just a little.

“You OK?”

“Fine! Got this damned brittle-bone problem. Don’t worry – I can set my old bones myself once we’re in the car.”

Both 007 and 9800956 were gunning the M15’s Jag XJ 220 (with stereo radio and tape deck) along the M25 when 007 asked, “Tell me, old boy, whatever happened to Botvinik?”

“Old Botty – the Russian spymaster? He retired. We gave him a part-time job at M15, tidying up our files. He was more familiar with them than we were. We’ve given up chasing Russians, of course. Nowadays we buy their secrets through a mail-order catalogue. It’s the Arabs now.”

 “Grant, I must confess I don’t know why Sir Andrew sent me to you. My game was chasing Russians. Of course, once we realised most of the M15 and CIA chiefs had been Russian agents all along the situation became uncertain and we spent a lot of time chasing each other – often round our own desks.

Bond began to reminisce … “Once I turned 50 they gave me an Austin Mini – imagine! One day I was chasing Botvinik in his Fiat 1100…” Bond laughed at the memory and was instantly racked by a paroxysm of coughing.

“Anyway, we drove straight into a canal! I said to myself, ‘Bond, this is the end of the road! You’re past it!'”

Bond wiped some dribble off his club tie, the thin end of which hung lower than the fat end.

“But surely, Grant old boy, Arabs must be easier to spot? Look, there’s one!”

“By jove,  Bond! It’s Ali Salim Salim Ali, licensed to deal in Scuds. Hold tight!”

The rocket-assisted XJ 220 soared over the top of the Arab’s SL 960 (four-door with disc brakes), touching down just in front of it. Ali Salim immediately pulled off the road, grabbed his secret plans, umbrella and sandwich tin and sprinted into the fields with Grant in hot pursuit and Bond in cooler pursuit.

As Grant disappeared into the distance, Bond, out of puff, lay in the grass and closed his eyes.

He sensed a shadow fall over him and found himself gazing up into the liquid brown eyes of  Princess Fabiola Aman Ik Aman the famous Arab spy.

“Hello, James,” she breathed.

“Hello, my dear,” said Bond.

“Can I loosen your tie?” she sighed.

But Bond was already snoring.

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