• 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.

The Dreaded Nativity Play

Belinda Tamsen is a grade four schoolgirl whose spelling is as bad as mine was when I was her age and, in fact, possibly much older. Her spelling is based on real examples of the earnest writings of small children culled from South African primary school magazines.

But Belinda’s essays are all-revealing and Mrs Williams often regales the staffroom with Belinda’s revelations.

At a recent parents’ day Mrs Williams said to Belinda’s mother, “I promise not to believe what Belinda says about you if you promise not to believe a word she says about me.”

Recently Mrs Williams, desirous of completing some end-of-term work set her class the task of writing about the forthcoming nativity play. Rehearsals which, she knew, were not going terribly well.

She smiled a little smile when she saw Belinda snatch up her pen.


Ow native-ittee play

Bie Belinda Tamsen, Gr4


I am playing the part of Mary in the native-ittee play nex Friday nite and Brendan is Joesif. Babee Jesus is been playd by Tandi’s doll juss becose it is a brown doll.

I say mie doll looks mor like Jesus and I hav never ever seen a brown Jesus not ever.

But Tandi sae Jesus wasunt enny color so it dussint matter.

She sae that is wie we mus all love each otha so I pinch her arm sore and got de-ten-shin.

Tandi is mie best frend but now I like Peta better.

Rodnee is playing the part of a anjel but he look silly with his halo witch he wares rown his nek and Miss Tomlisson had to tell him that he mus ware his anjel wings on his BACK not on his CHEST. Rodnee is so SCHOOPIT.

I doanno wie Miss Tomlisson arst him to be a anjel she mite as well arst ow dog Smooch becose Smooch have mor brane in his bakside than Rodnee has in his hed.

Jon and Sipho are the donkee and hav a blankit over them and I hav to sit on them and thay suddenlee stand up and shute me hie into the ear.

We havta sing the hiym – Wile Sheppids wotch ther flocks bie nite orl seetted on the grown. But the boys orl sing Wile sheppids wash ther socks by nite orl seeted rown the tub which they think is very funny.

Mrs Tomlinson sum times goes inta a corna and holds her hed.

At the re-hers-sal wen Joesif nock on the dor of the inn and say is ther enny room the inn-keeper spose to say the inn is full up but he spoyl evverythink bie saying ther is stacks and stacks of room. The inn-keeper is playd bie Gareth who is also schoopit like orl boys and orlways gettin inter trubbel.

Brendan didernt no wot to say so he jus crie. He is a bit of a wimp if you arst me. Miss Tomlisson had to tell Gareth off.

She sae the native-ittee play is eg-streem-ly seerios and holee.

So nest time Brendan asrt the innkeeper is ther room in the inn Gareth sae noe it is full up to the brim an orl the beds are takin. But he then sae Joesiv muss come in enny way an hava tot of sumthink.

So Mrs Tomlinson make Gareth play Joesif and make Mark the inn keeper and Mark and Gareth have a big fight.

Wen Gareth ask the inn keeper if ther is room Mark says that for Mary there is room but Joesif can bugga off. 

Mrs Tomlinson keep on saying it will be orl-rite on the nite.

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