Mouse

Welcome back to Artist’s Corner, the bit of my blog in which I peddle the same material week after week in the hope that no-one really notices. The conceit is quite simple. I draw a picture, my very-nearly-two-year-old daughter adds a touch of colour and then I post it on here and pretend it’s art.

I’d probably have stopped doing this weeks ago but the comments section has continued to amuse me, as a number of people seem to delight in posting ludicrously intellectual reviews of the ‘art’.

Hopefully they’ll do that this week too, or I could end up looking a bit silly.

Anyway, without further ado, allow me to present this weeks oeuvre. It is simply called ‘Mouse’.

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Revealed: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Coffee

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello, I’m James and this is my blog, ‘James Proclaims’.

I like coffee. I drink quite a lot of it and I’m something of a snob connoisseur.

But in all honesty I doubt I know ten facts about coffee that aren’t already common knowledge. It would be ludicrous to claim otherwise.

Regular readers will no doubt have spotted that this is, once again, my (now apparently regular) Wednesday ‘click-bait’ post. I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and if I’m honest the experiment has rather run its course. I don’t really know why I’m still doing it.

Perhaps it’s because, when all is said and done, disingenuous, low-quality content is still content and given that most media outlets, even publicly-funded institutions like the BBC, allow some pretty low-brow and worthless content on their websites, I don’t see why I should rise above it.

I should probably provide a link to something trite on the BBC website to prove my point, but these days my understanding is that you don’t need evidence to back up the claims you make and also quality is subjective, so it’s really just my opinion rather than an actual fact.

Believe it or not, some people will really like this post and consider it the height of satire.

And who’s to say they’re wrong?

 

Important Information For Our Readers

This one

Dear Reader

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support during these past months, which we know have been difficult ones.

As life begins to return to some normality, we want to reassure you that we’re continuing to do everything we can to keep you safe while still providing the quality poetry and great art that James Proclaims is known for.

You will have seen some updates from the Government recently and I wanted to share our approach with you in light of this latest guidance.

FACE COVERINGS

From Friday 24 July, we’re asking you to follow the new government legislation on face coverings while reading our blog.

All readers, apart from children under 11 and those who have reasonable cause, such as a health condition, disability, physical or mental impairment, should wear a face mask, scarf or other covering. Not all exemptions are visible, so please be understanding of other readers.

You will also be pleased to know our writers will be wearing face coverings. These will be worn by all writers who are not exempt when they are in areas where two metre social distancing cannot be achieved or where other measures, such as screens, are not present.

 

SMALLER QUEUES

As readers return to their normal reading patterns, we’re seeing queues reducing, and no queues at all on many posts. If you do find yourself queuing, please try reading outside of the peak lunchtime and early evening hours when it’s quieter.

 

READING HOUR FOR THE ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE

At the beginning of lockdown, when some posts were in high demand and the blog was very busy, we created a dedicated hour at the start of each day for our elderly and vulnerable readers.

We know how much this was appreciated and so – although our posts are now less busy and we have effective safety measures in place – we will continue to keep the first reading hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays reserved for our elderly and vulnerable readers.

We hope these measures reassure you that we take the safety of readers very seriously. Thank you for your patience and support in these challenging times. I look forward to seeing you commenting on one of our posts soon.

Take good care,

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J Proclaims
Managing Director
The James Proclaims Partnership

This one

A Bad Poem About A Different Bad Poem

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Once I wrote a poem and it wasn’t very good
I put it on this blog though I wasn’t sure I should
It was quite well-received even though it was so bad
It got more ‘likes’ than better posts and this made me sad

I wondered if it was worth putting much effort in
If  my most ‘liked’ posts were ones I’d prefer to bin
On the other hand though, it gave me pause for thought
Perhaps I had been trying harder than I ought

And so bad poetry became a thing I’d write
When all my other musings seemed a little trite
I’ve butchered many forms, there’s not much I won’t do
Poor odes and awful limericks and vacuous haiku

But though they are all bad, I can still get much worse
For few horrors can compare to my attempts at free verse
And though this poem rhymes it isn’t any better
Though it is quite self-aware and possibly meta

James Explains The Mask Situation In The UK

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Although Raphael is wearing a mask, it is the wrong kind of mask. However Raphael is a mutant turtle and consequently may not be affected by coronavirus.

It is officially mandatory to wear face-masks in some places in the UK as of today. It was already mandatory to wear them on public transport but previously it was not necessary to wear them in shops. According to ‘man of the people’ Michael Gove, it was basic good manners to wear them in shops, but there was no need to make it obligatory. Michael Gove did not, however, deem it good manners to wear a mask in Pret-A-Manger, which is now also mandatory, unless you’re eating in, in which case it isn’t mandatory, presumably because the mask might get in the way of the actual eating. But if you’re taking your food away, as Mr Gove was, then you will have to wear a mask. But not because it’s good manners, because it definitely isn’t good manners to wear a mask in Pret-A-Manger. But it is now the law or something. I mean I don’t think the law, if it is a law, actually specifies Pret-A-Manger. Unless Matt Hancock has shares in Pret-A-Manger. Then it probably is mentioned by name. But other sandwich shops are available. And some of them might even be better. Given that most of the Government seem to have been pictured in Pret-A-Manger this week, all wearing a mask, including, belatedly, Mr Gove, who has clearly been told to get ‘on message’, then I’d be considering venturing into another sandwich shop just to avoid them. Or making my own packed lunch. Which seems eminently more sensible in these corona-times.

Anyway, the point is that today there are new rules on the wearing of masks, which previously weren’t rules.

Fortunately the Government has published some guidelines on the new rules and they did it a whole twelve hours before the new rules came into effect, so there’s no excuse for getting this wrong. The guidance is only 2,752 words long, and frankly I’ve written blog posts about Star Wars that are longer than that. So if you had time to read any of  my 31 posts about Star Wars that I wrote in May then you definitely have time to read the Government’s advice about wearing masks.

Then again, even by the relatively humble standards of this blog, my Star Wars posts were not, on the whole, particularly popular . And they were definitely more entertaining than the Government guidance on wearing masks. So there is a chance that people won’t read that either.

But there does seem to be some confusion over the whole mask situation, so maybe I should help to answer some of the more frequently asked questions. Or FAQs, as I like to call them (I should probably trademark that).

I don’t know what the FAQs are surrounding the wearing of face-masks, so I’ve had to make some up. Much like Boris Johnson does with facts.

So without further ado, here are some possible FAQs regarding the wearing of face-masks and also some answers.

Question 1

Why is it only the law today, when coronavirus has been around for ages, supermarkets have always been open and other shops opened up weeks ago?

Essentially, before today masks were definitely ineffective against Covid 19, and the science definitely proved that and even though countries where people habitually wear masks have had much lower rates of infection, there was absolutely no proof that this was because of the mask-wearing. It could just have been luck. But a few weeks ago in the UK we beat coronavirus, because of our bulldog spirit. We sent it packing good and proper, never to be seen again. But some people keep saying that it’s actually still here and even though it definitely isn’t, we decided to close Leicester for a bit, just to shut up the moaners. But they kept moaning so we decided that if everyone wore masks then we wouldn’t be able to see their stupid moaning faces any more. And today just seemed as good a day as any other really.

 

Question 2

What is acceptable to wear as a face-covering?

Anything you like really. Have a bit of fun with it if you want. Think of it as one big fancy dress party. But you can’t dress up as Batman because his mask covers the wrong bit of his face. Batman’s nemesis Bane would be fine but he’s a baddie. If you want to be a hero then Spiderman would be a good option. Personally I’m going to dress as Darth Vader. But that’s because I already do that most of the time anyway and the costume has a built in ventilator so there’s a bit of long term planning with my decision.

Question 3

Seriously though, do I have to actually wear a face covering, or it it a bit like all the other rules and completely unenforceable?

The law very clearly states that you do have to wear a face covering unless (and I’m quoting the actual Government guidance here) “putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress”. ‘Severe distress’ is quite hard to quantify so, in actual fact, you really don’t have to wear one if you don’t want to. Also the police have repeatedly said they won’t be able to enforce this so it really all comes back to Govian “good manners”. 

Also you can print off your own exemption certificate or just write yourself a note, like you used to do when you didn’t want to do PE lessons. Only this time you won’t have to forge your mum’s signature, because it is apparently easier to get out of wearing a mask during a pandemic than it was to get out of cross-country in secondary school.

 

Question 4

What will happen to me if I don’t wear a mask?

As most people probably will comply then you’ll likely get lots of disapproving looks. But there are no other consequences.

At all.

Right, I hope that’s cleared things up.

Now get out there and start spending your money!

 

 

 

Pig – Encore

Welcome back to Artist’s Corner, the bit of my blog in which I pretend that fairly rubbish drawings are actually art.

Lately I’ve been posting the same sort of inept doodles as ever, but with the added twist that my almost-two-year-old daughter had been adding her own unique take using some washable felt-tip pens.

Last week we gave you ‘Pig’, a work that was genuinely described in the comments section as being “structurally simple yet rhythmically balanced” and a “stunning display of technical mastery”.

However, in what is a definite first in this series, Little Proclaims declared herself unhappy with the finished work and yesterday morning she elected to revisit it. I think you’ll agree that her new interpretation reveals an entirely different construal to the piece. But I’ll leave the specifics once again to the comments section. For now, please enjoy “Pig – Encore”

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Ten Reasons That You’re Underperforming And Five Ways You Can Fix It

James Proclaims (4)

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Just five years ago I was a mess, like you probably are. I was failing at life and I didn’t know why. Then one day I picked up a book by Dr Willhem Grimaldi and my life has never been the same. I realised that I had been making the same ten mistakes as all stupid loser people make and I decided I wanted to be a clever winner person instead.

Dr Willhem Grimaldi showed me that in five simple steps I could stop doing the ten stupid things and be a better me than I thought possible.

And now you can also be a winner person like me.

Except that I just made up Dr Willhem Grimaldi.

And I have no idea if there are ten specific things that would make people unsuccessful. It seems unlikely that there could possibly be ten universal truths that account for every single person being successful or not. And if there are, it seems utterly without credibility that there would be five solutions to these ten problems. That doesn’t make mathematical sense.

Hello, I’m James, and this is my blog, ‘James Proclaims’ and I hope you’re here because you regularly read my blog and you’ve recognised that this post is just the latest in a series of posts I’ve been writing for the last few weeks (for some reason on a Wednesday) that have ‘click-bait’ titles.

Because if you really came to a blog called ‘James Proclaims’ to find out how to make your life better then I really don’t know if anyone can help you.

 

Pig

Welcome back to Artist’s Corner, the bit of my blog that, of late, has being playing host to some innovative collaborative art projects put together by me and my almost-two-year-old daughter.

If you’ve not seen our previous efforts then I would urge you to reconsider your life choices, but I will also condescend to explain, in rudimentary terms, our ‘method’.

Essentially, I draw a fairly basic cartoon of something my daughter has vociferously demanded. She then adds the colour.

This week Little Proclaims has been experimenting with some new washable felt-tips. They are essentially the same as her old washable felt-tips, but they haven’t run out of ink.

Prepare yourself to be challenged by this week’s powerful imagery as depicted in ‘Pig’:

 

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Then go to the comments section, which is where the fun really begins on these posts…

Remember Vincent Montcetti? You Won’t Believe What He Looks Like Now!

James Proclaims (4)

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Do you remember 90’s heartthrob Vincent Montcetti, star of teen comedy ‘Saved By The Prince’?

It seems unlikely because I just made him up. And I made up the show too. The photo above is just something I found on one of those websites that has royalty-free images. I have no idea who the bloke in the picture is. He could conceivably be called Vincent Montcetti but he probably isn’t.

If there really was a show called ‘Saved By The Prince’ and it really did have a star called Vincent Montcetti then I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to any genuine fans who clicked onto this post hoping to read about their favourite former teen idol.

Although, I’m not that sorry because if there were such a person as Vincent Montcetti, then the ‘clickbait’ title of the post could really only have enticed you here to see what he looks like now. And the implication of the title was that, if he once was something of heartthrob, then he isn’t any more. So shame on you for wanting to revel in someone falling off the pedestal that you once put him on.

I imagine most people are here because they often frequent my blog and they’ve worked out that this is the latest entry in my current ‘blog project’ of giving some of my posts ‘click-bait’ titles to see if more people visit my site as a result. This is my third week of doing this and frankly the last two efforts did yield more visitors than would be normal. I doubt this is actually a good thing, because I can’t imagine many of those additional visitors stuck around.

Still, I expect I’ll post a few more click-bait titles in the coming weeks.

It’s a flawed methodology for attracting new readers but the comments sections of those posts have been highly amusing.

Reflections On The Recent Lockdown By A Man Who Might Be Slightly Inebriated

James Proclaims (4)

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It will be Monday when I post this but, as I write, it is Saturday afternoon. Little Proclaims and I spent much of this morning doing our usual weekend daddy-daughter activities, which mostly consists of feeding ducks and jumping in puddles. I join in with the duck/goose/swan feeding as Little Proclaims, while content to hold a piece of stale bread and shout at the associated waterfowl, is rather less than proactive in actually dispensing the bread to the beneficiaries. I tend not, as a rule, to jump in puddles due to not possessing the appropriate footwear. And not being a toddler. It’s more about the footwear though…

As of the 4th July we have, of course, been permitted to return to playparks, so that too featured this morning. Little Proclaims has very much enjoyed this renewed relationship with the swings, slide and roundabout but by far her favourite activity in the playpark at the moment is to run around aimlessly while shouting excitedly. We go out early and are alone in the park so I try not inhibit this expression of unbridled joy, unless she looks as though she’s about to do something that will result some kind of mishap. Which does happen quite often…

Little Proclaims is now enjoying a much deserved afternoon nap and I am sitting in front of a televised football match that I have fairly limited interest in, drinking some very nice beer, which I purchased for a bargain price at the supermarket and which is making me question whether I will ever return to the pub. I suppose I would like to socialise with the small number of people that I consider friends again but frankly the beer is just as good, and significantly cheaper, at home and I wonder if I really need to go the pub to see them. Maybe the ‘new normal’ will present us with lots of new opportunities to get together, which won’t involve imbibing alcohol in a claustrophobic environment on a Friday evening. Probably not, the world does seem intent on making the ‘new normal’ as much like the ‘old normal’ as possible. Then again I’m sure the ‘old normal’ had plenty of activities that weren’t ‘the pub’. I just didn’t pay them much heed. Perhaps I should stop waiting for the world to change around me and just be a bit more proactive. That does sound like a lot of effort though.

I’m also feeling fairly reluctant to get a haircut. Having rejected Mrs Proclaims kind offer to trim my locks during lockdown, I now have quite the mop. If work, which in my case is based in a secondary school, were operating as usual I’d probably feel more inclined to sort it out, because teenagers can be quite cruel, but there are so few of them there at the moment that I feel I can hang on, particularly with the six-week summer holiday coming up. No doubt by the time September rolls around I’ll be desperate for a trim but I feel I can let things play out for a little longer – who knows, I may decide to opt for an entirely new look at the end of all of this. Maybe a new hairstyle is what I’ve been waiting for to kickstart my journey to being a new and better me.

Or maybe I’ll just be the same person but with different hair.

I expect around the end of August I’ll cave in just have my usual haircut anyway. The non-descript but easy-to-manage look that has served me so adequately for all these years.

I should at least be a slightly fitter version of myself as a result of all of this. My thrice-weekly run has now increased to four-times a week. The main result of adding an extra run per week seems to be that I’ve become much much slower on all of my runs, but as the notion of going for four runs a week was unthinkable only a few months ago, I’d still have to count this as progress.

The swimming pools are due to open soon. No doubt with lots of rules that make it far more difficult to access them, but I should still be able to add swimming back into the mix in some way. I’d like to imagine I’ll stick with the running too, not least because the gyms are also re-opening so there should be less runners about in general, which might mean I can stop getting up at 5am to avoid them.

That said, Little Proclaims does like an early start so it’s unlikely to be the end of my 5am alarm calls…

Being the parent of a small child and still largely having to go to work did mean that lockdown wasn’t the life-altering experience for me as it was for many. Still, I did acquire a little more time as a result of it and I wonder if I really made the most of it.

I’ll have to do better during the next one.

 

Snake

Welcome back to Artist’s Corner, the bit of my blog in which I try to pass off rudimentary doodles as art.

For the last few weeks I’ve been posting the same kind of sub-standard drawings as was my way when I first started doing this back in 2017.

But these days I have a collaborative partner in the form of my almost-two-year-old daughter who has kindly embellished my drawings with her own artistic interpretations.

And the results have been astonishing. I mean they’re still quite bad drawings and the scribblings of a toddler do little to redeem them, but it has resulted in some of the most entertaining ‘comments sections’ I’ve ever seen on this blog.

So, people of the blogosphere, you are once again encouraged to channel your own inner art critics and share your pretentious gibberish in the comments section below as you take in the power and majesty of ‘Snake’.

It was originally going to be a frog. That’s what Little Proclaims ‘commissioned’. But when I started drawing the head, I felt that it looked more like a snake. So I finished off the drawing as if I’d meant to draw a snake all along.

Little Proclaims didn’t seem to mind…snake

 

 

Lose Weight And Feel Great In Three Simple Steps

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello, I’m James and this is my latest post on a blog I like to call James Proclaims.

It’s not really a blog about weight-loss or fitness, although occasionally I have used my own lacklustre attempts to improve my health and wellbeing as the basis for some of my posts, which for the most part are meant to be amusing rather than inspirational.

I can’t tell you how to lose weight and feel great in three simple steps. I doubt there are three simple steps. Assuming you have no underlying medical conditions, if you eat healthily and do a reasonable amount of exercise you’ll probably be fine. I don’t think there are any obvious short-cuts, but I’m no expert. I don’t wish to dismiss how difficult it is to eat healthily and do regular exercise either – I find both to be soul-destroyingly difficult. Nonetheless, I think that is the only route that will yield results.

Obviously if you’re a regular visitor, you’ll have probably worked out that the title for the post was a continuation of a theme I started last week, when I decided to write a post with an obvious click-bait title to see if it attracted more people to my blog. I mainly did it for a laugh, but I also learned a valuable lesson. Which was that writing click-bait titles that have little or nothing to do with your post does actually work, if your sole goal is to attract more visitors to your blog.

And to be fair, although I did acquire some new ‘bot’ followers, I also did get lots of comments and engagement from real people. I was unduly rewarded for my Machiavellian ways and it was a busier day than normal over here at James Proclaims Towers*. Certainly, busy enough for me to try the same trick again this week.

Last week’s click-bait title was specifically pitched at other bloggers, and ultimately, although my post did not help anyone to generate additional followers for their blogs, the post in question was at least about the whole concept of blog followers, so hopefully none of my new visitors left feeling hugely short-changed.

It would only seem fair, then, to dedicate the rest of this post to the topic of weight loss.

But that does seem a bit boring.

So, I’m not going to do that.

 

*I’m trying out ‘James Proclaims Towers’ as the new blog nickname for my home. You obviously don’t know what my house looks like, but if you did, you would know that ‘James Proclaims Towers’ is hilariously ironic.

James Complains About Seven Delicious Biscuits

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If you’re good at maths you will see seven biscuits in this picture. If you see eight then hang your head in shame.

 

I enjoy a good biscuit as much as anyone. Pre-pandemic, when I used to have to attend meetings in person, I always felt slightly less hostile towards the meeting organiser if there were biscuits available. Not that biscuits could ever truly redeem any meeting, but when they were available they could help to ease the pain a little.

And while I would never actively encourage visitors to Chez Proclaims, you can be assured that if you manage to dupe me into allowing you past the threshold of my house, then I will provide you with a biscuit. And it will be a nice biscuit. Something from the ‘Tesco’s Finest’ or ‘Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference’ range. Or maybe, if I’m feeling particularly generous, it could even be an offering from Marks and Spencer.

But probably not from Waitrose. Not any more. Not after what they did.

“But James”, I hear you cry, “surely Waitrose do some very nice biscuits?”

Oh yes dear reader. Waitrose do some exceptionally nice biscuits. Some of the best I’ve ever tasted. But you shall not find them in my house.

“But what have you got against Waitrose?” I hear you plaintively protest.

I have nothing against Waitrose. I like shopping there. Even during the pandemic, when going to the supermarket has often felt akin to diving for treasure in shark-infested crocodiles, only to find that someone has already taken the treasure and left some weird lentil-based pasta twirls in it’s place, I haven’t hated shopping in Waitrose. Apart from the cost, because it’s a little more expensive than other supermarkets. But I do like a lot of the stuff they sell, in spite of the mild inconvenience of not really being able to afford it.

But let’s get back to my problem with the biscuits.

It might seem like a little thing. I’m sure some people will call me petty. But those people would be wrong.

A few weeks ago I purchased a packet of chocolate-orange cookies. And they were absolutely delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed them. They were near enough biscuit nirvana.

The trouble was that they came in a packet of seven.

Seven!

What kind of inhuman monster sells biscuits in packs of seven?

OK, I’m sure I’ve already got the mathematicians on board, but it is possible that some people might be lost, so allow me to explain in greater depth, why I believe this be such a heinous crime.

Seven is far and away the worst quantity to sell biscuits in because seven is a prime number. It is only divisible by one and seven.

This means that if you buy a packet of seven biscuits, it’s impossible to share them evenly with anyone else unless you are sharing them with exactly six other people and you all have one solitary biscuit each. And when does that happen? How often are there exactly seven people in a room partaking in biscuit consumption? It’s quite a specific scenario. And if that ever does happen, then, as I said, everyone only gets one biscuit each. And surely no-one ever only wants one biscuit.

Any other scenario and you can’t divide the biscuits evenly. Someone will end up with more than everyone else. And I’m sure that marriages have broken down over less serious matters than ‘uneven biscuit distribution’.

The other option is to scoff the lot yourself. But whereas the smaller prime numbers, two, three and even five are acceptable numbers for solitary biscuit consumption (five I’ll concede is at the limit of acceptability but hardly hedonistic), seven biscuits is really too many for one person to eat on their own. Of course I could easily put away seven biscuits in one sitting, but I shouldn’t and I resent Waitrose for putting me in that position.

Biscuits should be sold in even numbers because then you can always share them with another person. I can, however, accept a packet of nine because that can at least be split three ways. Little Proclaims is too little to be given an equal share of the biscuits at the moment but one day I might be glad of a packet of biscuits offering a convenient three-way distribution.

Eleven or thirteen would also be quite bad quantities for biscuits to be sold in, but when you get to that amount then it’s surely implicit that you would need to save some for another day. And anyway, thirteen is permissible on the grounds of novelty value because it’s the traditional ‘baker’s dozen’, so it’s really twelve plus a bonus biscuit.

No, the worst number to sell biscuits in is seven.

And I am absolutely correct to be angry about this.

 

 

 

 

 

We’re All On A Learning Journey

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Lately I’ve noticed a tendency
For so-called celebrities
That I have never heard of
To apologise for things
That I didn’t know they’d done

I can see at face value
That it may seem appropriate
To say sorry
For insensitive choices
Made when times were
Supposedly less enlightened
Even if the aforementioned times
Weren’t actually that long ago
And the person in question
Should really have known better

Maybe I’m being cynical
But I can’t help but feel
That perhaps the apology
Is less about making amends
And more about raising the profile
Of someone who would benefit
From some free publicity

Equally though
I do understand
That the fear
Of being named and shamed
By social media
Is very real for some
So perhaps the apology
Is better issued in advance
It is, after all
Very important
To make sure
That Twitter likes you

And if we’re honest
Most of us could look at choices
We made in the past
And concede that some of them
Were not especially sensitive

And though I am not famous
And unlikely to ever be so
It occurs to me
That if I ever achieve this distinction
Then photos of me
At a fancy dress party circa 2005
In which I appear
To be dressed as Saddam Hussein
May well come back to haunt me
Because that could well be perceived
As quite insensitive

So, for the record
I would like to point out
That my costume
Was actually supposed to be Che Guevara
And not Saddam Hussein
But it turns out that
Within the context of budget fancy dress
They had a surprisingly similar look

James Explains Independence Day

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Happy 4th July everyone!

Today is officially Independence Day in the UK!

What’s that?

July 4th is Independence Day in the United States?

No, that can’t be right. Unless you mean the time that Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum saved the world from aliens in 1996? Because I’m pretty sure that was a movie. And not a great movie if I recall. I mean the effects were pretty good, and the two leads were decent enough, but it was all pretty derivative otherwise.

I haven’t seen the 2016 sequel, but I’ve heard it’s eminently forgettable. Actually, maybe I have seen it…

Anyway, if we’re not talking about the movie then I’m not sure how anyone could claim that Independence Day is a US thing rather than a UK thing.

What’s that you say? It’s to commemorate the 1776 Declaration of Independence, when the Thirteen Colonies ceased being part of the British Empire?

Actually, to be fair, that doesn’t sound like something we would want to celebrate in the UK. Indeed, I can’t imagine we would have been overly keen on that development back in 1776.

But hey, water under the bridge and all that.

If something that happened 244 years ago is still worth having a party for then go for it my American friends.

But we’ve got an Independence Day that really is worth celebrating over here. Because today is the day that we’ve finally beaten COVID 19 and we can get back to normality and doing what we do best in this country.

Which is getting drunk.

Because the pubs are open again!

Except for where they aren’t. Which I think is Scotland and Wales. And the city of Leicester. Which could be indicative that the easing of lockdown in the rest of the UK is premature. But it definitely isn’t.

Obviously, we haven’t stopped getting drunk just because the pubs have been shut anyway, because we’re British and the second the rules were relaxed on going to the park more than once a day, we’ve been in out in our masses, enjoying the sunshine and getting absolutely hammered. But now we can pay more money to do that in the pubs, which is superb news for the British Economy.

So, on this most British of Independence Days, I urge all of my compatriots to head to their nearest alehouse with the utmost haste.

Unless you want to get a haircut first, because that is also now permitted.

And shops have been open for ages, so you can go and spend your money there too, as long as you are planning on getting absolutely wasted at some point today.

Oi, you in the Lycra – where do you think you’re going?

The gym? I don’t think so my friend. While it is an actual fact that we have beaten the virus to a safe enough level for excessive alcohol consumption in overcrowded bars, we still need to act with some restraint. Gyms and swimming pools are obviously much more dangerous than pubs. Yes, today is a day for celebration but we can’t afford to do anything reckless like indoor exercise.

Honestly, some people…

Oh, and in terms of meeting up with other people, just to clarify:

  • You can meet as many people as you like in the pub
  • You can meet up to six people outside unless you would like to meet more people than that.
  • You can go to another person’s house and stay overnight, but you must only go to one house at a time. Anyone caught simultaneously in two houses at any one time will feel the full weight of the law. Which is currently about 8.2 mg, the same weight as the average feather.
  • You still need to stay either 2 metres or 1 metre apart from other people unless you can’t or you don’t want to.
  • You must get drunk.
  • There was definitely something about bubbles. Possibly champagne bubbles, but I’m sure any sparkling wine will do.

Above all else, remember these simple rules:

 

Stay Drunk

Ignore The Facts

Spend Your Money

 

 

 

Throwing Stones

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The other day
I overheard two colleagues
Disparaging another colleague
(Behind that colleague’s back)
For being overweight

It irritated me
For several reasons
Not least because
Although I’m not above
The clandestine critiquing of others
I would like to think
That I would never do so
For reasons so shallow
And unkind
As these people did

But it also occurred to me
That while the person who was the subject
Of the condemnation
Is indeed overweight
The two people passing judgment
Could also stand to lose a few pounds
And ultimately were being somewhat hypocritical

But then I worried
That in disapproving of them
I too was being hypocritical
Because although I would be confident
In declaring myself healthier and fitter
Than either of them
It definitely wouldn’t hurt me
To cut down on the snacks

Then again, I only judged them
On the basis that they
Were judging someone else
So maybe I’m not as bad as them
When all is said and done

Of course, I kept my thoughts to myself
And didn’t challenge them
After all, how could they know
I could hear their every word
Just because they were speaking loudly
Outside the room that they knew I was working in?
It’s not like they were talking about me
And the person they were discussing
Was blissfully unaware of the conversation
So, I just left well enough alone

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is
Possibly there is no moral at all
Or maybe it’s something about
Glass houses and stones
Which always confused me
Because who would build a house out of glass?
Unless the saying is about greenhouses,
But then why not just say greenhouses?
Anyway, it’s probably best not to throw stones
Indoors at all
Because most buildings have windows

Dog

It’s that time of the week again, when I present one of my not-very-good doodles, which my almost-two-year-old daughter has subsequently embellished with her washable felt tips, and then I pretend it’s art. But the collaboration doesn’t end there, because by far the best bit of these posts for the last two weeks has been the comments section, as people try to out-do each other with their own interpretations of the ‘work’. So, no pressure people, but if the comments section isn’t full of more pretentious nonsense this week then I’m going to look like a bit of a fool.

Last week we offered you ‘Cat‘, a disturbing, visceral, yet poignant piece that, in many ways, presented a pessimistic view of the world.

This week, Little Proclaims has opted for a lighter more playful tone and, in many ways, a direct contrast to ‘Cat’ but just as one cannot have the light without the dark, so too we cannot have ‘Cat’ without ‘Dog’.

So here is ‘Dog’

dog

Massively Increase Your Followers In Three Simple Steps

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello, I’m James and you are currently reading my latest post on a blog that I like to call ‘James Proclaims’. There’s a chance that you already know this of course and that you came here to sample my latest offering because you generally find my output tolerable. However, if you’ve stumbled here by accidently clicking on the wrong link or some other internet-related mishap (we’ve all been there), then I still want you to feel welcome and appreciated. We at ‘James Proclaims’ value all of our visitors, regardless of the circumstances that led to them finding themselves here. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. I sometimes like to pretend this is a team effort, but it isn’t. This blog is entirely my fault and my fault alone.

There is, of course, a chance that you’re reading this on the basis that you were enticed by the ‘click-bait’ title I decided to give this post. If that is the case then I’m genuinely sorry. It wasn’t my intention to mislead you (well it was, but only in a misguided attempt at humour). In all honesty, there is very little chance that continuing to read this post will help you to get more people to follow you on whatever social media platform you’re currently operating on.

Because I don’t know how to do that.

Certainly not in three simple steps.

I don’t have that many followers.

Actually, at the time of writing I do notionally have something like 850 followers. Some bloggers would consider that a lot, while others would look on me with condescending pity as they bask in the glory of having thousands of followers.

850 is fine with me. It would be even better if there really were 850 people regularly reading my posts.

There are not. I think there are reliably about twenty people worldwide who actually read most of what I write and then maybe another twenty or so people who occasionally read what I write. I could be wrong. There could be more than that, there could actually be far far fewer than that.

The other 810(ish) followers either consist of people who did used to read my blog but haven’t for a while, other bloggers who followed me despite having no interest in my blog, solely in the hope that I would follow them back (I’m sorry to disappoint those people but I tend not to do that, although they aren’t actually reading this so it’s probably a redundant statement to make) and quite a lot of my followers are what we in ‘the business’ like to call ‘bots’. I don’t know what a bot is, but I do know that if I write about specific topics, things that normal people write about like health and/or fitness, then the bots go crazy for it. When I write about ducks and puddles, the bots seem less interested.

Anyway, the point to all of this, if indeed there is a point, is that in the month that has just gone, the month in question being June in the year 2020, my blog has enjoyed something of an upturn in fortunes. It was, statistically speaking, the most fruitful month I’ve ever had based on all of the different criteria that WordPress uses to measure the success of my blog. I had more visitors, more ‘likes’ and more comments on my posts in June than in any other month since I started blogging, way back in May 2015. And while you might expect a blog to get more successful over time, that generally isn’t how things have gone for me. My stats for June 2020 eclipse every other month by a considerable margin. The only month that comes close is August 2015 and that has always been an outlier, a beacon of shame if you will, reminding me that every other month has been a spectacular failure by comparison.

There are some factors which may have helped June, not least the fact that I’ve been producing content on a much more regular basis than I have in the past, but as this is my hundredth post in as many days, one might wonder why I didn’t enjoy a similar upturn in fortunes in April and May. Ok, May could be explained by the fact that I wrote exclusively about Star Wars for thirty-one consecutive days and April was fairly niche too because I mostly wrote about 90s indie music. But I’ve had blogging streaks before and they’ve never resulted in a massive increase in my blogging stats. Perhaps the pandemic has meant more people have time to read blogs. Maybe my particular brand of ‘whatever-it-is-I-actually-do’ has been more appealing during these coronatimes than it was when there wasn’t a world-wide health crisis.

Or maybe, somehow, I have finally nailed the art of blogging and June 2020 was the beginning of my humble little online journal joining the stratosphere of the ‘superblogs’. Maybe this time next year I’ll have 8000 followers rather than just 850.

It seems unlikely. But, while I’d like to pretend that I don’t care about things like ‘numbers of followers’ and ‘likes’ and that I’m really too cool for all of that, there is a part of me that has enjoyed this last month.

And I’d like it to continue for a bit longer.

So, I thought I’d get my July blogging stats off to a good start by writing a post with an obvious clickbait title.

Just to see how many more of the bots I could reel in.