James Explains The Fundamental Disappointment Of Existence Amongst Other Things

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Welcome to another James Explains, the bit of my blog where I answer questions that other people have asked. I don’t necessarily answer them correctly but an inability to respond to enquiries accurately doesn’t seem to be the barrier to success that it once was.

Indeed professing to be an expert in things that one knows nothing about seems to be almost a prerequisite for career advancement these days.

And so let the alternative facts begin…

Glen poses the following brainteaser:

“Do our idyllic childhood memories set us up for a life of disappointment when inevitably many aspects of adult life do not measure up to how we first conceived of them from our cocooned viewpoint as ‘babes in the woods’ or… are we all really on our own Wizard of Oz ‘Peak behind the Curtain’ journeys where the ultimate goal is acquiring wisdom and understanding without being brought undone by the occupational hazards of accompanying bitterness and disillusionment?”

To be honsest Glen, by the time I got to the end of that question, I had pretty much forgotten how it all began. I find that my attention span isn’t what it once was. Or is it? I don’t know. I can’t remember if I ever had much of an attention span. Probably not. More to the point, am I actually answering your question at all? Let me revisit the question again…

(Musical interlude while James goes back to read the question)

Right, I think I’ve got this. Adult life is inherently disappointing, and we are definitely prone to reminiscing about better times. But they never happened. Life was always rubbish, and the only reason we might not have thought that when we were kids is because we were stupid. Although, even as an infant I was a little world weary in truth.

Pete has more of a gripe than a question this week:

I wish to complain that you failed to answer my last question! I am incensed, and I feel that you have abused my human rights.

I cannot remember what I asked, but I’m sure that it was really important.

What compensation am I entitled to?

Well, Pete, we at James Explains endeavour to provide the very best in question-answering services and we are sorry that we have not met your expectations on this occasion. We will be taking a good long look at ourselves after this. As to compensation, you will of course be entitled to a full refund, and a substantial discount on any future questions you may choose to ask.

Suze, who seems to have no genuine grievances but can’t resist a bandwagon when she sees one, has this to say:

I’m with Peter…how much money are you going to pay me to go away and/or start asking additional questions?

Suze, I feel you are being a tad opportunistic here, but I can’t fault you for that. I’m prepared to offer you an additional 30% on top of your usual fee.

These Were Humans has this divine enquiry:

Can you explain why my favourite deity is the ancient Babylonian god Nergal?

In truth I’m not overly familiar with Nergal’s work, but having quickly looked him up via the magic of the internet, it seems to me he was quite a cheeky chappy. So that’s probably why you like him.

Haylee is konfused and asks the following:

Kan you please explain Kanye?

In truth Haylee I kan’t explain Kanye. I’m not even really sure what a Kanye is. From my research, I understand that he might be a person if that helps. There might also be a link with something called a Kardashian? Which, as I recall were the bad guys on one of the Star Treks. To be honest I’m way out of my depth here.

Right, that’s enough explaining for this week. If you ask a question below I might explain it next week.

Admittedly I might not.

Only time will tell.

 

The Elephant In The Room

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Hello people of the blogosphere. I’m back after something of an unplanned hiatus from the world of blogging. I wasn’t sure what to write about for this post – on the one hand my first post in a while ought to be a spectacular affair, both witty and profound, irreverent yet informative, offering reassurances to my regular readers that I’ve not lost any of my trademark humour while ensuring any new readers who happen upon my blog might want to stick around and read more of my ramblings.

On the other hand, sometimes you can put a bit too much pressure on yourself, and when you’re out of practice, sometimes it’s better just to post something – anything – even if it’s a bit rubbish just to ‘get back on the blogging horse’ so to speak.

I’ve got a few posts in the works, some of which will see the light of day on these very pages soon, but for this post I’d thought that the best thing I could do was to address the elephant in the room.

Because it’s not often you see an elephant in your front room. Continue reading The Elephant In The Room

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 3b: More mendacities on multilingualism

James Proclaims (4)

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So this is the second part of the third part of my series of posts on stuff I used to do. It might help to read ‘the first part of the third part’ for this post to make sense. It may, or may not, help to read parts 1 and 2. Then again, it could be quite optimistic to assume that any of this makes sense.

But let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that it does make sense. If you recall, at the end of the last post (part 3a) I’d just moved to Paris (narratively speaking of course, it was some years ago, in October 2002, that I actually moved to Paris) to begin my degree course in French Studies as a mature (but really not that mature at the age of twenty-three) student.

Starting my course wasn’t easy. Nearly everyone else on my course spoke French better than I did, through a combination of having only just finished their A-levels (whereas I hadn’t spoken French in any capacity for two years) or, in some cases, having French parents (which seemed like cheating to me but who am I to judge?).

The standard of accommodation I could get for my money left something to be desired too. I lived in squalor with a nightmare of a flatmate for the first year and in further squalor with a different but equally nightmarish flatmate for the second year. There’s no time to describe either of them in this post, but I’m certain I’ll circle back to them in future posts. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 3b: More mendacities on multilingualism

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