Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 5 – A Lack Of Prose Disturbs Me

James Proclaims (4)

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After a fortnight’s break from this ‘feature’, I’m back with more ‘Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Any More’.

It’s perhaps appropriate, after a two-week hiatus from the series, that this post is about how I don’t write any more. Although to be honest I’ve disappeared from this blog multiple times before (for longer than two weeks) and in any case, I have actually posted a few things on here in the last two weeks, just not a post about ‘stuff I used to do’.

Maybe I should add ‘writing about stuff I used to do’ to the list.

Or is that just ridiculous?

I think it probably is, but in the context of other stuff I’ve considered appropriate material for this blog, it’s perhaps not all that ridiculous. After all, I did once write this post Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 5 – A Lack Of Prose Disturbs Me

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 4 – I Read A Book A Week (But Never Dostoyevsky…)

James Proclaims (4)

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Here we are then at part 4 of my miniseries on stuff I used to be able to claim I did, but now I don’t really do.

And this one is on reading.

Books that is.

Because I used to read a lot of them and now I don’t.

Although, contrary to the suggestion in the title of this post, I never used to read a book a week. That was a little nod to one of my favourite sit-coms, ‘The Office’ (original UK version, although I am very much a fan of the US version too).

The comment about Dostoyevsky is a nod to the same episode, although it is true that I’ve never read any Dostoyevsky.

Judge me not though, for I can point to a great many worthy authors that I have read, thus proving my intellect. For I have read (and in some cases enjoyed) works by Dickens, Hardy, multiple Brontes, Stendhal, Flaubert, and numerous other authors that appear in the ‘Classics’ section of your local bookshop.

But don’t be too impressed, I’ve also read everything Dan Brown ever wrote, so I’m clearly not averse to an ‘easy read’ either.

In fact, my parents used to joke that I’d read anything I could get my hands on, even a cereal box if there was nothing else available. And in truth I have read some pretty good cereal boxes in my time. The Frosties box of summer 1987 stands out as a particularly good one, although the Coco Pops of autumn 1991 would run it close.

I jest of course, for while these days, as all sensible consumers should, I read the ingredients of cereal boxes to make sure that nothing contained therein is going to slowly kill me over time, I wouldn’t read a cereal box for entertainment purposes. Jars of Marmite on the other hand…

But I digress, for my parents made that observation about my reading habits (or one of them did and I’m not quite sure which of them to blame…) because as a child I did read a lot.

It might make me sound like quite a worthy child but I’m not sure that I was. It was the eighties and there wasn’t really much else to do. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 4 – I Read A Book A Week (But Never Dostoyevsky…)

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 3a: A Prevarication On Polyglotism

James Proclaims (4)

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This is the third in my series of missives about how I used to do more stuff than I do right now. This one is about languages. I got quite carried away when I wrote this and even by last week’s standards, (which was a marathon post about marathons) this part was threatening to be too long. So I’ve cleverly split it into two posts, except that, as it was already meant to be the third part of a much longer series, splitting it into two parts and calling them parts 1 and 2 wasn’t going to work. So I’ve adopted the ‘maths textbook’ method of classification and I’m calling this part ‘3a’ and the second part will be ‘3b’. I hope that’s clear enough. I could just learn to self-edit and then I wouldn’t have these problems, but for now this system will have to do.

And so without further ado, let us begin…

In many ways I have all of the hallmarks of a secret agent and international man of mystery.

If nothing else I have the correct initials. For, and this may come as something of a surprise to long-time readers, my name is not James Proclaims. That is a pseudonym I use for the purposes of sharing my inconsequential ideas, meaningless meanderings and witless witterings with the literally tens of readers who visit this blog on a daily basis.

Indeed, my first name isn’t actually James. But lest you abandon this blog in disgust at my fraudulent forename, I should point out that ‘James’ does appear on my birth certificate as my given middle name. And, perhaps more pertinently, ‘James’ is the name most people call me. So it really is my name to all intents and purposes.

But I do have a different legal first name that I never use. It is a name of Indian origin. That fact is possibly pertinent to this post, but more of it later. Its only relevance now is that, like ‘James’ it begins with a ‘J’. And my actual surname begins with a ‘B’.

So my initials are JB. Well JJB if we’re going to be pedantic.

But much as I enjoy a bit of pedantry, now is not the time.

So we’ll dispense with the middle initial and state that my initials are JB.

And, in the world of fictitious spies, having the initials ‘JB’ is qualification enough to join the club.

A club which includes luminaries such as James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer.

Need I go on?

Obviously I can’t actually go on, those three are all I can think of. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 3a: A Prevarication On Polyglotism

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 2 – I Just Kept On Running (Or I Did For A While And Then Gave Up…)

James Proclaims (4)

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Part 2 of my confessional about how I’ve become a less interesting person over the years and it is time to focus on a perennial lie on my CV – the claim that I enjoy long distance running. To reflect that fact, this is a longer-than-usual post. A marathon of a post if you will. Don’t say you weren’t warned…

I’ve never enjoyed long distance running. I can’t think of anything I’d rather avoid than running of any description to be honest.

I’m not built for it for one thing. Until settling in the town of Reading in 2013, I led something of a nomadic existence. I’ve lived in a few places in the UK and I even lived for a few years in Paris (more of which later). The one thing that moving around means is changing GPs. And every time you change GP you have to go and have a medical. Consequently, no-one is more aware than me that I am, according to my BMI score, obese.

It’s a horrible word, obese. I often wonder if it’s specifically designed to make you feel bad about yourself. Cos if someone describes you as obese, then you’re going to want to do something about it aren’t you?

And I would, but I think it’s fair to say I’m also quite fit.

I’m no Olympian but I do exercise a reasonable amount. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 2 – I Just Kept On Running (Or I Did For A While And Then Gave Up…)

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 1 – A Relatively Pointless Preamble

James Proclaims (4)

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These days I’m all about paying the mortgage on time, pretending to eat healthily (then sneaking an extra slice of cake when no-one’s looking) and watching endless TV shows and movies, often, but not exclusively, with some kind of comic book/superhero theme.

Maybe there’s more to me than that. Maybe I’m selling myself short. Maybe I’m still a fascinating person to know. But the evidence is, increasingly, pointing to the contrary.

I do have this blog. That’s pretty interesting I suppose. Although I have quite happily blogged about the nuanced flavourings of tinned soup, a car sticker that allows me access to the local recycling facility, and difficulties encountered when ordering a pair of trousers online, so, although this blog probably is one of the most interesting things about me, it’s perhaps overstating things a little to claim that this blog actually qualifies me to call myself an ‘interesting person’.

As it happens I don’t list this blog on my CV.

What I do have on my CV though, is a load of stuff that is patently untrue. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 1 – A Relatively Pointless Preamble