• 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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Is this the end for Bond?

London: MI5 is laying off veteran intelligence agents who can’t come to terms with the internet age. The Star.

Bond. I say, Bond! James old boy! Can you hear me?
The entire office was now looking at Bond. But Bond had his hearing aid off. Even if it were on he would not have heard for he was oblivious to everything except his computer. He hated computers. He never could understand them and until now had avoided working with them.
He was hesitantly pecking away at his keyboard with his two pointy fingers – pecking like an old hen seeking widely dispersed seeds. As he tapped each letter he first looked at the individual key and then up at the screen to see if it had registered.
Bond had, years ago, permanently parked his Aston Martin DB6 with its twin 22mm cannons and ramjet booster. He was forever having accidents in it – scraping street poles or hitting the firing button instead of the hooter.
Now he was office-bound trying to liaise with minor Middle Eastern agents.
The most difficult part of his job was trying to understand his HP Z200 SFF with its dual-core processor options based on the new
Intel CoreTM i3 and i5 series, as well as quad-core processor options based on the enterprise-class Intel Xeon 3400 series, if you know what I mean.
Ali Akbar Habibi, a new and nervous mole within the Iranian Foreign Office, had just sent a message: 31FB81B-1335-11D1-8189/ÿÿÿsk.
Bond wasn’t sure whether this was a coded message or simply the type of inscrutable stuff that comes with email.
In Bond’s day, agents writing secret messages used invisible ink made from onion juice – the recipient simply had to heat the paper for the words to appear.
Bond struck a wrong key and his computer informed him that his gobulated transcender was unconfigurated. He ignored this and resumed pecking out a message to Habibi.
Bond: Hi Hibaby – Dom’t wory with code for Pate;’s sake becauise my mnacbine has a bult in Scudl device.
Habibi: Myself much alarmed – what you saying about Scud device?
Bond: No, no not sced drvice. I maent to writte SKoT, no SCID SCUD – yes, ScUD. It stands for Secret Code Unscrombling Device. this confoundred keSyboard. its made for lottle Japanese fgirls whose wrists ar2e broken at birth so they can use these blkoody thungs. Has SCUD not hit Teheran yet/?
Habibi: Myself now very alarming. Your Scud not hit Teheran yet. You gone mad Mr Bond!
Bond: Ni, ni Hiabaabi I said Sced not skid. No skid not scud. Yes ScUD is par5t of our communci3ation system.
Habibi: Your aiming the Scud at out communications system! You mad! You sick! Myself no longer your agent. I will alarming my superiors.
Bond: Just hang2 on Hababy@! Y4ou hav git it al wro5ng. Teheran is UK!
Habibi: UK can stay out of Teheran! You double cross me. I tell my Minister now. If UK hits us with Scuds we not scared to use our new nuclear weapons.
Bond: No ni Teheran is OK. I typed UK by mis5take. Are you saying Iran has nuclar weapoms after all? You told me yo8u don’t. This is seriuis!
Habibi: Very serious, you wait and see Mr Bond. You mad.
Bond in his agitation hits the mysterious “Sys Rg” on his keyboard and the screen says “Fatal Error!”
He looks around in anguish and finds his eyeballs pressed up against the eyeballs of the MI5 boss who is silently mouthing something that looks like “Your farewell party – come Bond, there”s a good lad!”

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