The number ’99’ is surprisingly ubiquitous. One shy of the more well-rounded ‘100’, ’99’ could well have been lost in the shadows of its more illustrious neighbour. After-all ‘100’ is a power of ten, that most noble of numeric families upon which the decimal system is entirely dependent. Our understanding of currency, measurements (presuming one uses the more sensible metric system over the perplexingly inconsistent imperial system) and even, to a certain extent, time (ok not really – seconds, minute, hours, days, weeks, months and years have little to do with decimalisation but when we get to the big measurements – decades, centuries and millennia – my point (sort of) stands) is all dependent on powers of ten.

For ’99’ to have carved out not one, but several identities, against that back drop, is pretty impressive. Ok there are occasions when the success of ’99’ is linked to its proximity to 100 – how many times are items priced at 99p, or £1.99, £2.99 (feel free to insert your own currency here if you don’t regularly use the rapidly diminishing pound as your money of choice) to create the illusion they’re cheaper than they really are (I’m not paying £3 for that mug when I can get this one for £2.99)? Continue reading 99

James Complains About Quite A Lot Of Things


Although I tend to mock the whole idea of New Year’s Resolutions, January 2017 seems to have coincided with me ‘upping my game’ in blogging terms. I’ve been posting pretty regularly, a minimum of three times a week and on occasion four. Furthermore, although many of my blog posts have been in the form of bad poetry or bad art, Mondays have tended to be for a more considered, longer piece of writing.

That, people of the blogosphere, takes planning and effort.


It might not seem like it but those meandering Monday posts, with questionable grammar and no particular point, do actually take me a bit of time to produce. I generally take the whole weekend to ‘craft’ them. Continue reading James Complains About Quite A Lot Of Things

An Inadequate Tribute To A Sporting Hero

James Proclaims (4)

The 2009 film ‘Invictus’ tells the story of how the South African national rugby team overcame the odds and and won the 1995 rugby world cup. It was a significant moment in the history of both the sport and the nation. The film probably overstates the ‘underdog’ nature of the team, given that the Springboks have been consistently one of the top rugby playing nations in the world ever since, managing to regain the trophy again in 2007 and (despite playing poorly by their own standards) finishing third in this year’s tournament, knocking my beloved Wales out along the way.

Nonetheless, it is a film that is well worth watching if you have a spare 133 minutes or so and if the odd dramatic licence is taken, it captures the spirit of the victory pretty well.

It was a fairy tale sporting moment, a moment that the Rainbow Nation was able to unite and rejoice in the post apartheid era. Nelson Mandela leading the celebrations is an evocative image.

It would certainly take somebody pretty churlish to be upset that South Africa triumphed that day.

I was sixteen at the time and I was that churlish. Continue reading An Inadequate Tribute To A Sporting Hero