• 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.

Belinda and the Bloody Lights

This week, Mrs Williams at Malhurst Primary, desirous of completing her class register, set the children the task of writing a composition on what they did at Christmas. Belinda Tamsen’s pen began to scorch up the paper.


My Crissmus by Belinda Tamsen


We hadda verry nies crissmus and I had lotsa presents in-clooding a bike witch I lern 2 ride rownd and rownd the gardin and inter the dalliers witch I flattend. My cuzzin Mark came 2 see us with his sister Mary. Mary tell me Mark tride 2 get her 2 put all her pocket munny in with his munny so they could buy thear mother a sokka ball. Mary sed she didernt forl 4 that one.

We hadda crissmuss tree with lites that go on and off but at first they wud not go on at all and daddy sed it was becos one of the tiny lites was dud and 4 an owr he cud not fine out witch one it was and he kept say-ing bluddy hell and bugga the soddin lites. Sumtiems he ack-chew-elly swear.

My little brutha gotta plorstic tool kit and just wen daddy got the lites 2 werk he hit wun with his hammer and they all went owt. My daddy orst him niesly not 2 hit the lites again but he did and they orl went owt again.

My daddy showt doant do that agen EVER or I will brane you.

My little brutha got such a frite he wet hisself.

Crissmus dinner was fun. Granny and Granpa came and bort us all sox and ornty Berrill came and she also bort sox – again. I orsk you with teers in my ize wot sort of crissmus present is sox 4 hevins sake.

She giv my little brutha a trumpit which make a sownd like a So-wetto taxy. She dusint hav any chillren so she dusint unner-stand. My brutha neva stop blowin it Paaap! Paaap! Paaap!

Daddy say if you doan stop blowin that bluddy thing I will rap it rown yor nek. Ornty Berrill say wot a terribell think 2 say 2 a smorl boy and my daddy say wy did you by him a trumpit 4 peet’s sake and she say she by him wot she like and she pick my little brutha up and hug him and he wet hisself again and orlso wet ornty Berrills dress.

She REELY doan unner-stand chillren.

We all bort millyens of thowsens of presents and daddy say it is orl a ridicu-luss waist. Mummy say we only spent abowt R20 on each so its notta train smash. Daddy say that nex year we shud all stand inna sircle on crissmuss day and hand each otha a R20 note and be dun with it.

We had turkey and ham and crissmus pudding and crackers witch we pull and things jump owt like wissels and spinnin tops. My little brutha gotta tin frog that goes click clack click clack wen you press it until peepel go mad. He drop it on the floor and my daddy ack-sid-ently stud on it and smash it inter millyens of peeses.

Wen my brutha cride my ornt pick him up and skweez him tight and he bort up all over her dress – all his crissmus pudding an turkey and custid and orl sorts of in-ter-ess-ting things sum from breck-fus.

My cuzzin then play the pee-anno. Every body clap eg-sep me. Mummy sae wie doan I tern the pages of the music so I had 2 and I ack-sid-dently drop the lid of the pee-anno on his fingas and he yell and yell but at leest he hadda stop playing and we all clap again in-cloo-ding me this time.

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