• 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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S*X for the Extremely Shy


Women’s magazines, Sunday papers and the Reader’s Digest have been writing more and more about sex in recent years. They carry candid letters from girls who can’t achieve orgasm or men who fear impotence. They solicit replies from sexologists, whose advice, for some reason, is always written in bold face, and who provide long and explicit answers which never fail to badly shock those of us who were brought up in mid-20th century when the most explicit things in newspapers and magazines was advertisements for Maidenform bras. Today, magazines publish a zillion words a year just on how to find your partner’s G-spot.
I don’t even know what a G-spot is – and I daren’t ask.
What these journals fail to realise is that out there, there are people who have difficulty finding even a decent parking spot and who also wouldn’t know what a G-spot was even if it leapt out and bit them on their backsides.
The following advice is for them.
If only editors knew it, there are millions of people who can be classed as Extremely Shy and who need just very basic advice so that they can take it s l o w l y.
In the 1950s everybody was shy. Or nearly everybody. For a start your parents never told you anything, but they would issue many an enigmatic warning about, well . . . you know . . . about, well, s*x, the very mention of which would induce a violent fit of coughing. Or they might have slid you some sort of book written by an elderly clergyman, who’d obviously never had it, which would warn you about not playing with yourself.
As a consequence of all this one would – in fact two would – feel guilty about being sexually attracted and the sex act itself was one stage short of robbing a bank or snatching an old lady’s walking frame as she was hobbling to the shops. One would writhe in agony before summoning up the courage to make a date. Men especially.
In those days few of us had telephones so, if you wanted to ask a girl for a date, you had to do it face to face… if you’ll pardon the expression.
And my generation did not do a much better job in sexually educating our kids. In the 1950s and 1960s you’d no more think of discussing sex at the table than you would flick food at the ceiling to see if it would stick.
Today sex can come up in normal conversation at dinner. “Aesthetically speaking,” one sister might say to another, “whadya think of this new female condom?” The other, idly chasing a pea around her dinner plate…

Extract from “Sex for the Terribly Shy

6 Responses

  1. One half term break from school I had my two daughters to entertain and their two friends. There was a documentary on TV geared up for their age group about the human body how it developed and the growth of sexual awareness. I considered it suitable for the four to watch with me in attendance. There were two age groups ,Sue and friend aged ten and Kate and friend eight. When it came to the sexual awareness stage Kate leapt up and said that the sun had come out, it had stopped raining(remember it was summer and this is England), we know all about this it’s boring let’s finish building our den. I was disappointed, I was beginning to learn something! Love Vic xx

    From Vicky Withers


  2. i never did finish building that den..!
    I thought a G sport was a motorbike .

  3. Harleys are pretty sexy – I bet they have a g spot too..

  4. The comments just crack me up.

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