Something About Nothing

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A few weeks ago, in order to maintain a regular blogging schedule, I committed to regularly writing short posts about ‘not very much’, instead of longer posts that pretend to be about ‘something’ but aren’t really about anything.

Since making that pledge, I have written anything much.

So the plan didn’t work.

And now I’m reduced once again to writing about how I’ve failed to produce any meaningful content for this blog, aside from a couple of poems, one of which was a Haiku that I wrote ages ago and the one I posted yesterday, which was about Bovril.

Bovril!

Who writes poetry about Bovril?

Anyway, I’m really just posting this as confirmation that I am still alive.

I have just been occupied with lots of stuff lately.

Some of that stuff is work related and it genuinely makes me sad that I have to spend good blogging time working on paperwork that no-one is ever going to read but nonetheless needs to be completed so that I can answer honestly when people ask me if I’ve done it.

I’m not above answering dishonestly about completing paperwork and I have employed that strategy many times in my life to get people off my back, but it generally is prudent to complete it anyway, at some point, because even though most of the time no-one bothers to read it, it only takes one excessively keen and enquiring person to start probing for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down.

I feel there are some of these overzealous vultures circling at the moment so I’m being particularly careful to “dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s” in my professional life.

However, all work and no play would make James a dull boy so I have also been quite busy filling potential blogging time with other fun stuff.

I could write about that fun stuff here.

But I won’t.

Because that might create the illusion that I lead a vaguely fulfilling existence.

Which might even be the truth if I really think about it.

But I think a sense of satisfaction with my lot in life would be setting entirely the wrong tone for my blog.

There’s Always A Bright Side

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It’s already five past eight
I’m running rather late
I overslept this morning
Ignored alarm clock’s warning

Had no time to eat my toast
Now coffee is the most
I’ll consume before my break
So I’ll be hungry but awake

And the traffic will be slow
But I’ll just go with the flow
There’s no point in getting stressed
(Did I remember to get dressed?)

It’s not been the best of starts
But I’ll try not to lose heart
If I can just survive the day
Then there’s always Beaujolais

James Complains About Not Having Written Anything

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It’s the first Monday in September and like many teachers I’m obliged to go back to work after a six-week hiatus.

Obviously, I expect very little sympathy from the non-teachers out there. Clearly, it’s hard, if you don’t get six weeks off, to sympathise with anyone who hasn’t had to go to work for the best part of the summer (I mean it was definitely the best part of my summer anyway).

Fortunately, I know there are quite lot of teachers who read this blog.

So, it’s perfectly fine for me to have a moan about having to go back into work.

And regular readers of these pages will know I’m not a huge fan of the whole work thing anyway.

I’d much rather sit around in my pants all day watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

But there are bills to pay.

And no-one is prepared to pay me to sit around all day watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

So, to work I must go.

And to be fair, the education profession does allow me numerous holidays throughout the year when I can sit around watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

Obviously, I don’t spend all my holiday time doing that. Mrs Proclaims tends to frown upon that kind of behaviour.

Also, it’s apparently not good for your health to spend most of the day sedentary whilst consuming large volumes of frozen sugar and fat.

Anyway, after a six-week break in which I haven’t exclusively sat around watching box-sets and eating ice-cream, I’m back to work today.

Normally I’d be dreading it.

And today is no exception

But it’ll be fine. I’ll struggle through the first few hours, as I remember that I’m contractually obliged to do stuff and not all of that stuff will be interesting, or even worthwhile. Some of it will, frankly, be a complete waste of time. At first, I’ll want to resist, but eventually I’ll settle back into the same, slightly numb, reluctant acceptance that this is my life until Christmas.

And that’s fine, because they pay me just about enough to meet my mortgage commitments, pay my utility bills, and do all the other essential things I need to do to exist.

Like eat.

And pay my Netflix subscription.

So, while it’s fair to say I’m reluctant about going back to work today, I do understand why I have to do so, and on balance, I can’t complain too much about having to work when I’ve just had six weeks off.

But the trouble with having to work is that it tends to get in the way of blogging.

It’s hard to maintain a blogging schedule and do all the stuff I need to get done in work.

Sometimes I manage it, but there are often times when I go missing from the blogosphere for weeks, even months, on end because I’ve got too much to get done in work.

So you’d think, with six weeks off, and an unstated but implicit understanding with my lovely wife that I would not spend all of that time sitting around in my pants watching box-sets and eating ice-cream, that I might’ve had time to pen a few missives for this blog.

To get me ahead of schedule.

You’d think I’d have at least written today’s post in advance of today.

And although I did technically write this last night, it was so close to midnight as to barely count.

And I certainly haven’t written anything else in preparation for the coming weeks.

I meant to get ahead during my time off.

But I didn’t.

So, this could feasibly be the last thing I post for a while

Which, when you consider the quality of this post alone, would clearly be a tragedy for all humanity.

So let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, that I churn out another one of these soon.

Even I Don’t Know What This Post Is About And I Wrote It

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I’m in work as I write this.

Which might seem a bit naughty, because one should never use work time for blogging and I absolutely never would. It’s not ok to blog during work time.

The above paragraph was written on the basis that although there’s no chance my boss ever reads my blog, if she actually were to read it, I’m fairly sure she wouldn’t get past the first few sentences. Much like when she reads my emails. If she does indeed read them. Which doesn’t always appear to be the case.

Although I don’t make a habit of blogging in work time, my moral stance on blogging during work time is perhaps more liberal than the stance I took a mere 2 paragraphs ago. Frankly if my employer thinks it’s ok to expect me to complete paperwork in my own time then surely it’s ok to blog during work time.

But actually I don’t tend to blog during work time very often. Continue reading Even I Don’t Know What This Post Is About And I Wrote It

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

Birthday Blues

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Hello blogosphere!

Today is the 4th April and therefore it is my birthday. My birthday is on the 4th April every year and I fully anticipate maintaining this tradition for many years to come.

One of the main reasons, indeed possibly the only reason, that I went into the education profession was that the 4th April is always in the Easter holidays and so, theoretically, I would never have to work on my birthday.

This theory has been proven incorrect on three occasions since I joined the teaching ranks. Arguably the worst was a few years back when my birthday fell on a working Monday, but today was almost as bad, for today is Tuesday and once again I found myself at the metaphorical coalface of my profession. Continue reading Birthday Blues

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

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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

Con-For-Us

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The conference is a noble thing
A day when experts confer knowledge
In allocated slots
To us know-nothing mortals
Who have had the nerve
Up to this point
To work without their wisdom

Although in truth
There is little conferring of knowledge
Or new knowledge at least
Just a purgatory of PowerPoints
Regurgitating redundant recommendations
Everyone has heard before

But in amongst the allocutions
Of stuff we all already know
Sometimes we can dare to dream
For a keynote speaker
With enough charisma
To make the blindingly obvious
Seem like it wasn’t really so obvious

And if the conference
Is a sham
A lie
An illusion of innovative information
If it is indeed a con
It’s a convivial con

It’s a con-for-us

For while orating the obvious
Might be the order of the day
It is still a day
Away
From our average day

And if we’re lucky
A free lunch
Continuous coffee
And maybe some sweets on our table
Will help us pass the time

James Complains About The Bag Of Shame

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Regular readers of this blog will know that I rarely write about work.

This is for a number of reasons, not least of which is that this blog is very much my escape from the daily grind so to dwell on the quotidian minutiae of my profession would seem to be in direct contradiction of that sentiment.

Also it might be a tad unprofessional, given that much of my job entails working with some fairly dysfunctional young people. It’s not that that doesn’t generate some amusing tales, quite the contrary, but to share those tales outside of the confidences of a few, well-chosen, colleagues might not be a brilliant long-term strategy for career enhancement.

Obviously I fully intend to give up my day job as soon my talents as a writer, comedian and all round entertainer are recognised by the popular media, but as yet such acknowledgment has yet to present itself in the form of a jaw-dropping book deal worth an obscene amount of money, or the chance to write, direct and indeed star in my own artistically-credible-yet-accessible-to-the masses sit-com.

This could be down to a lack of effort on my part to make such dreams a reality.

Or it could be a lack of talent.

It’s probably both. Continue reading James Complains About The Bag Of Shame

James Complains About January

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I’m writing this  in what can only be described as a foul mood.

Christmas now seems but a distant memory and, although I’m sure I enjoyed it at the time, the net result of the recent festive period is that I’m now poor and fat.

The return to the daily grind has left me so ridiculously tired that it’s frankly astonishing to me that I actually do work for more of the year than I don’t. How have I been coping all this time? I deserve some kind of an award for bravery.

I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that getting out of bed every morning last week was nothing short of traumatic. And yet somehow I managed to force myself up and out into the morning traffic.

I’m nothing short of heroic. Continue reading James Complains About January