Happy New Year!
Hello, and Welcome to the beginning of a New Year in the land of The Daily Mumble, your favourite not-quite-daily "news" update from the inside of Joseph Tame's head. I would like to take this opportunity to wish both of my loyal regular readers a very happy New Year - may it be as wonderful for you as my mum's sherry trifle was for pudding.
This year, if the last few days and the feeling in my heart and soul are anything to go by, promises to be absolutely fantastic.
Never before have I experienced such a dawn; a dawn in which a myriad of possibilities are vividly presented before me, and the courage, self-belief and enthusiasm to explore these emerges within me. No one single moment is responsible for this feeling, rather, the past week has seen a combination of events transpire to create a whole, far greater than the sum of its parts.
Incidentally, what is really surprising (regular Mumblers: make sure you’re sitting down before reading on) is that romantic relationships or sex have played no part in generating this veritable Van-de-Graph surge of sparks. I know, can this be the same lad who only last summer took part in a two TV documentary’s bemoaning the fact that his life was nothing without love?
Well, ‘tis 2004, the year of the Monkey. I may be a horse by birth but in my heart I have always swung through the canopy and screeched “ooo ooo”. This is the year that the monkey has been waiting for, the year that the monkey will swing, eat the fruits of the canopy and bring his nuts out of decommission.
There is much to learn, the banana is ripe.
(n.b. if you haven't the foggiest what on Earth I'm on about, fret not. All will be revealed over the next few days, weeks, months, years and lifetimes. It is, after all, a never-ending story).
What a stunner!
Check out this lovely little 6-year-old girl... that turned into me.
Well well well, where to begin in my tales of New Year? Ah, how about New Year's Eve? Or perhaps New Year's Eve Eve. Something wonderful happened that night.
I'd returned home from work down in Devon to an empty house. Everyone was away for New Year, it was a depressing scenario. What to do? Ah, yes, the Japan Club - there was a meeting that night down in town. Walking into the bar I realised I’d made a big mistake: my arrival had marked an increase of 100% in the number of attendees. Fortunately, after a while a classmate from one of my evening courses turned up, and together we decided to jump ship and head for Budokan, that fantastic Japanese restaurant in Colston Street. Our intention was to have a little drink and a snack, and hopefully see two of our friends who work in the kitchens. Imagine our surprise when one of the afore-mentioned chefs produced a huge platter of sushi for us as a seasonal gift. It was most unexpected, but very warmly welcomed. The kindness of our quietly spoken friend, whose name I am ashamed to say I don’t even know, touched me. Hontou ni arigatou gozaimashita!
That night I watched “Bullet Proof Monk”. What a ridiculous film! (I loved it.)
The following day then was New Year’s Eve. I felt pretty down that morning. I had no plans for the approaching night of supposed celebrations, and the phone calls I’d made to various friends in Bristol and Hereford had proved fruitless. On the brink of despair, I reluctantly decided to drive back to my parent’s home and see the New Year in with a mug of cocoa and bed at 12.02am. The prospect was not altogether exciting. Much though I love mum and dad, I wanted to party: Orcop, with its ageing population of about 200 didn’t appeal.
Suddenly, with all the presence of a bolt of lightening striking life into the heart of someone who has just choked on a daffodil bulb, my phone vibrated. I whipped it out, and was blinded by the luminescence of the sight before my eyes. Yes, it was an SMS. An enquiry as to my plans that night with an implied invitation to call the sender.
With the speed of a leopard running away from a billboard advertising a new range of leopard-skin leotards, I dialled the number given. It was J, my friend from College and fellow Steiner education recipient. I was to join her and her friend H (and later others) for a dinner party, followed by whatever unfolded during the course of the evening. Tee hee, you should have seen my reaction, I was SO happy! I’d previously been in the Post Office to try to withdraw some cash, but when the Post Office card reader wouldn’t accept my VISA I turned around in a huff and rudely marched away from the employee without so much as a word of thanks for trying. Now however, things were different. I returned to the Post Office to apologise for my behaviour. This was accompanied by my wish that the staff member have a Happy New Year – a wish that was then repeated in all of the shops that I visited. I was happy, very happy.
With pasta and wine on the menu, the dinner party was great! I’d also taken a bottle of Mead with me; made out of fermented honey it’s allegedly England’s oldest alcoholic drink - yummy scrumptious. Following that (and a little dancing to Counting Crows and Michael Jackson) my memory becomes a little fragmented. What I can tell you though is that at 11.55pm we were running like the afore-mentioned leopards towards a bar in the town centre. It was then that I somehow managed to slip over backwards and flung it into a puddle in the middle of the road. It's dead.
It was at this great bar then that I saw the New Year in. Sadly my memory has chosen not to record the details of what happened then until about 2.30am when J, H and I hopped, skipped and stumbled across town to a party at someone’s house. I don’t have a clue who they were, but I remember I was feeling really quite happy. I remember speaking Japanese with some bloke too, and watching food being cooked. Lots of people, dancing, candles on the Christmas tree, problems with getting the CD player working, scarves stuck in bicycles, comfy armchairs, a toilet, a hatch between the kitchen and the living room…
5am saw the three of us move on, this time to the peace and comfort of my home, where tea was made, poetry read, hopes, dreams and concerns shared. It was all very special, especially so for me as my close friends in Bristol can be counted upon one hand. 6.30am - time for bed. It had all been just great, really fun, wonderful company, so funny…
It was the perfect beginning to 2004.
...a.k.a. Jamie T, without doubt the cutest baby in the whole world (and one of the fattest too!).
The first of January 2004 not only heralded the beginning of the year of the monkey, it was also the day that marked my father’s 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad! A grand family gathering was called for, and so my three siblings, their partners, my 3-month-old nephew Jamie and I descended upon the ancient family home in Orcop to celebrate.
Initial fears that maybe we wouldn’t all get on were soon dispelled (mind you, there was a lot of alcohol flowing!), and Jamie provided us with a great focal point. He really is gorgeous – and such a happy baby too. He rarely cries, and when he does one of my sister’s breasts is all that is needed to return him to his usual googly self. Mind you, that was a bit of a problem when I was left to baby-sit for him whilst Jessie and Danny went out house-hunting in Herefordshire. He’d been really very happy dancing around to ABBA with me, but then that point was reached when the smile began to wane. I could see the cries approaching – what to do? Cunningly, I offered him one of my fingers, which he gratefully grabbed onto and sucked with the full force of a Dyson vacuum cleaner on the Turbo Suck setting for about 15 minutes, before letting go and smiling like Mr Happy. I tell you, I don’t know how Jessie’s boobies can put up with the agro.
Mum had obviously spent the entire year preparing for our feast, which was followed by a fabulous Christmas present giving session (deliberately postponed from Christmas). Jessie volunteered to don the family Father Christmas outfit (she's pictured below doing it in a "boys in da hood" styleee, the beard providing the headband/baseball cap effect). I’d requested socks from my parents – they didn’t disappoint, providing me with 9 pairs! Lots of other bits and bobs too, including much-needed book tokens and a fandabulous pad of paper which has “A note from Joseph” printed on each sheet. It’s the simple things in life. Many other lovely gifts from my siblings and their partners too, received with smiles and happiness.
The most unexpected present came in the form of a letter and photograph from a friend whom just last week I was thinking about, wondering what she was up to, and feeling a little sad that we hadn’t been in contact for many many months. The letter opened, “I saw Love Actually the other day – it reminded me of you.” I’m just wondering which character. Should I be thinking about getting a Portuguese maid in to tidy my room and to go fishing for my emails in the one metre diameter pond that we have in the back garden? I almost cried when I read her letter; the knowledge that a friendship that you cherish is as alive as the day it was born is powerful indeed.
The following morning there was one final gift bestowed upon us all: snow. It had snowed in Orcop, as it always used to when I was a child. It’s just magic, the perfect magical ending to a magical Christmas and an even more magical Monkey New Year.
I had a cunning plan
Donning my favourite all-white fleecy tight top and jeans with the rainbow wool sewn into a patch on the right knee I stepped out into the sunlight, secure behind my snug fitting mask of pink. The plan was simple: to seek pleasure in the park by watching people as I walked to the video store, where I'd rent Amelie, return home and then settle down with it on in the background as I replied to all my Christmas fan mail.
This cunning plan was all going very well, until the DVD spun into action, and Amelie began to work her magic to the accompaniment of a French soundtrack and English subtitles. Yes, I'd forgotten that it wasn't an English film, and that therefore writing a letter whilst it was playing (a difficult enough task under native conditions) was now going to be utterly impossible.
I watched the film, and following that consoled myself with a whole tub of Pringles (Original) from the local shop owned by the two identical twin Turkish brothers. Took me ages to work that one out - one second he was behind the shop counter, the next he was weighing my letters in the Post Office bit. Was there a tunnel between the two, or a Star Trek type transporter to beam him across the shelves of pringles and pasties (the latter were too expensive for me).
Does anyone want to design a new website for me?
ah ah ah brain going mad ah
Photo of the week
I went shopping today. I bought 100 CDs, then I brought them home and photographed them. Here's the result.
In the psychiatrist's chair
Hello joseph. Here, take a seat.
How you doing this week then?
Mmm, ok, it's been an interesting week.
yeah. You know, someone was saying to me today
that recently an in-yer-face virus has spread
like wildfire right across the
It was odd: as soon as Nat had told me of the "no" virus, I detected it in myself.
I saw something that made me smile tonight. A lady parking her car so that the driver's door was wedged right up against a lamppost, taking the paint off. As she climbed out of the passenger side, she grinned and explained that the lock was broken.
Are you feeling ok tonight Joseph? You seem a little, troubled?
Mm, I am. I'm not sure why. How did you know anyway?
You've got your CD player on random play. Besides, it's what you pay me for.
yeah, right. I think it's a combination of things. I've had a really
good week, I've been really happy every day. Nice things have been happening,
lots of positivity. But I burnt my tongue
last night on some Miso Soup. That might be
it. Mind you, I bonded with my taxi driver today. He's driven me back
to the railway station after work a few times before now; usually I
teach him Japanese. But tonight, I mentioned epilepsy. Turns out his
daughter's got epilepsy too, although hers is a lot worse than mine.
She's on Epilim too, she's ok now. When I got home I called someone
who emailed me through my website yesterday wanting more info on medication
for epilepsy and
Someone tried to invade my private emotional space this week.
That's a very diplomatic way of putting it Joseph.
Well, you never know who reads these things. It was interesting observing my reaction. Yes, I was flattered, but also, my defences went up so quickly, it was quite shocking. Bit of a bummer come Friday night and I'm all alone at home with Media Player on shuffle. Kind of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot-why-don't-you-joseph scenario.
Do you think you can turn your mood around Joseph?
Hhmm, maybe I can. But I'm a little reluctant to consciously force myself to feel something other than what I'm feeling in my heart, and I haven't consciously figured out how to unconsciously shape my mood to suit my desires. Indeed, is it even possible?
Where's everyone gone?
I think you scared them off with your translation of thoughts into words Joseph. And those that are still here surely won't be able to resist the three marzipan covered doors.
Good, I can carry on in peace now.
So this week I decoded to try an experiment. This ongoing experiment is quite simple: the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to smile and think of all the things I'm looking forward to that day. 6am Thursday my "We can Work it Out" alarm went off. It was raining, windy too. Perfect weather for cycling to the station, not. Still, must feel happy. Big smile, nice weather for ducks, sang all the way to work, scaring the tramps out of their comparatively peaceful nightmares. Felt happy. Dried out on the train. Didn't FEEL like I was forcing my emotions, but my worry is that maybe I was. Maybe, after a week of that sort of activity I've produced a backlog of negative energy (e.g. "bloody hell it's pissing it down! I'm gonna get soaked!") that is now held in my subconscious just waiting for the right moment to gush forth and drown all happiness in a torrent of abuse and resentment. Is this what I am setting myself up for?
[Joseph leaves the room]
[Joseph re-enters the room three hours later]
Feeling any better Joseph?
Yes, I am actually. Had a lovely supper with the family discussing our new house "Words of the Week": incogitancy; taciturn; irenic, verisimilitude; primapara. Definitions on a postcard, first replies win the honour of designing and making a Tame Goes Wild mug, or simply being one.
Did you work out what had been stressing you out?
Yes, I did actually. I went up to Nanji's, our corner shop (and no, he doesn't sell corners). At the counter was one of the loveliest ladies I have ever seen in our avenue. My attention was absolutely fixed upon her. until I left the shop, at which point I realised that I felt very relaxed. That was it! The cause behind my stress: the invasion of my private emotional space earlier this week that I mentioned before seems to have really stirred within me the desire to be in a relationship. AGAIN!!! Bollox, just when I thought I was getting used to and starting to really enjoy being single - Friday night etc etc it all converges in my heart and sends me loopy. I've had some mead and yoghurt though which has calmed me considerably though, fret not.
We provided ourselves with endless amusement in the office yesterday. From our 3rd floor vantage point we have a great view of the construction work going on just up the hill. There are some temporary traffic lights there, which yesterday were stuck on red in both directions all day long. It was rather funny betting on how long the driver's would wait before getting fed up and breaking the law. The climax occurred when a learner driver appeared in the queue - what would happen? Would the instructor tell the learner to ignore the red traffic light, thereby committing a traffic offence? Yes, it is rather tragic when watching a queue of stationary traffic is far more entertaining than your job.
Well, I'm feeling better now thanks. I think I can safely go to bed without having any more anxiety attacks. Thanks.
See you next time Joseph.
How many beans in the jar?
A posh frock do? No thanks.
It's lunchtime in the office. On the second floor of a building owned by the french government, the atmosphere is alive with the buzz of the Friday feeling. Most of the excited natter is about what people are wearing tonight to the Conference and Awards Ceremony taking place in the Great Hall of Exeter University.
I turned my invite down for several reasons:
I've been feeling so positive this last fortnight, it's just great. I think the fact that every week sees the days get longer by fifteen minutes might have something to do with it. Also, the number of happy ducks I've seen from the train. Quack. There's been major flooding down here recently, resulting in many fields turning into lakes. Right, that got me thinking, what do worms do when there's flooding like that? I mean, the soil becomes waterlogged right? There's no point in them tunneling lower down because the water'll follow them, and you can't tell me that they simply move to higher ground, because the higher ground is in some cases miles away. Surely, if there's major flooding (as often seen in Gloucestershire where Doctor Foster went), the entire worm population is wiped out. Hang on a sec, how do worms have babies? Have you ever seen a worm have a baby? What about sex? How do worms make love? This requires investigation I feel. Alas, for now though, I shall have to leave it. Lunch is over, and some guys have turned up to replace all our decrepit monitors with sexy flat screens...
p.s. About those worms...
This morning's post
A week or two back I got a letter from one of my banks asking me to contact them urgently as they suspected that my credit card had been used fraudulently. Sure enough, when I checked my statement online there were four payments for "Personal Services" that I didn't recognise (no, honest! I know what you're thinking, but I swear, I'm starting to really enjoy chastity! :-p ). I called the bank, destroyed the credit card (which had never left my bedroom) and reported it to the police. Then I forgot about it all, until this morning when I received the above letter offering me counseling. I must admit that the emotional trauma caused by having to give the police my details was pretty scarring, and I have been having some pretty horrific vampire dreams ever since, but hopefully I'll get over it.
The second letter that I opened was from another adoring fan in Zimbabwe - I seem to have quite a few there for some inexplicable reason - but it was the third letter, from a Nigerian man living in South Africa, that caught my eye. He matter-of-factly writes:
His father's a king! Well, it's not every day you get a letter from a prince. He's also a very nice prince; polite friendly and interesting. Mind you, I find his request a little further on in the letter a little, well, lets just say it made me think how interesting differences in cultures can be:
Mind you, thinking about this, is there any difference between his request and my placing an ad on a dating website last summer? At the end of the day it's all one and the same, although I must admit I didn't write
Not all customised 4x4 owners insist on raising their cars 30 metres off the ground.
The second thing you need to know is that last summer I did some internet dating. Although I was fortunate to make one lovely friend, (AB, who I know is occasionally to be found reading The Daily Mumble!), my other dates did not go so well.
Whilst waiting at a restaurant for one particularly lovely-sounding lady who I'd been emailing and chatting to over the phone, I was approached by a man. He had a shuffle-walk, rank scraggy brown hair and a dirty, wirey moustache. With a growing sense of horror I watched out of the corner of my eye as this "man" approached me. "Are you Joseph?" the he-she asked. AGHH!! It was her, my date! Should I run? Should I deny that I was Joseph even though it was holding a photo of me that I'd sent in an email? A few seconds and one glance later and I was in the grips of pity. I bought her a drink ("Why did I get a pint instead of a half?!), had a 50-minute chat about shelves and then feigned exhaustion before calling a mate and meeting up for alcohol consumption to get over the shock of it all.
Another equally disastrous meeting occured at 3am on a Monday morning outside the petrol station down the road. I'd been chatting to this girl quite a bit, and apart from her somewhat obsessive hatred of seagulls (a 20-minute rant during our first conversation) she seemed perfectly lovely; I was looking forward to meeting her. So, it's 2am on a Monday morning and I'm asleep... when the phone goes. It's "Lisa", wanting me to meet her NOW on Gloucester Road, not far from where I live. I tell her No, it's 2am and I'm asleep, Goodnight! 30 minutes later she calls again, please please please will I meet her? Ok ok, if you insist... I mean, she'd sounded very emotionally attractive in her emails and phone calls (the seagull thing was probably just a one-off). I get out of bed, get dressed and make the short walk down to the main road where we agreed to meet. Looking across at the petrol station, I see someone who, hmm, how can I put this without sounding like a completely heartless bastard? Maybe that's not possible. Well, lets just say that I thought that there had been a breakout from the zoo (she wasn't my type).
Any sensible person would at this point have turned around and run back home, before instructing the phone company to block all calls from that number, but no, this is me we're talking about. I tell myself, Well, maybe it's just the light playing tricks. Maybe she's actually the most lovely person on Earth, physicalities don't matter etc. However, having crossed the road I discover that she is absolutely pissed out of her head and no, the light wasn't playing tricks. Also, anyone who says that physical appearance doesn't matter is lying. I decide to make sure she gets home and leave it at that, telling her that no, we can't go back to my place as everyone is asleep (i.e. over my dead body). I walk her home, and turn to leave... but feel pity stab at my heart when she begs me to stay for a little while. Sitting on the couch she tries her best drunken seductive tecniques, before suddenly falling fast asleep and emitting the most startling pig noises from her mouth. I gently lift her head from my shoulder, hoping to escape unnoticed, but alas, as soon as I stand up she's wide awake again, begging me not to leave again and telling me how comfy her bed is. I say no, and walk towards the door. She stumbles after me and grabs my belt to pull me back... I say NO! once again, and open the door to leave. She plays her final card: a look of absolute misery and neediness, head dropped down, eyes to the floor... I shut the door in her face and return home. One-and-a-half hours after first being woken my ordeal is over.
It wasn't long after that that I gave up internet-dating.
Anyway, that's the story behind my birthday card from Tim.
The "legalisation" of cannabis
Not being a regular cannabis user I don't really have any axe to grind on the subject. I think of it as similar to alcohol in a way, except I tend to feel more depressed the day following a joint. You know, I was just trying to think when the last time I bought some was... and I can't even remember. Oh, I know, it must have been Switzerland, yes, that was it. The nightmareish winter of 2000/summer of 2001. In fact, I remember, just after I broke my collarbone in that skiing accident I had to say to my employer, "Andreas, look, if I stay here in the hotel whilst waiting for my bone to heal I'm never going to be able to work again, because all I can do to get through the tedious hours is smoke all the weed that grows around here... it's going to completely fry my brain if I carry on like this...". That's why he agreed to let me go, and that's why I was able to take a month's holiday interrailing around Europe.
Anyway, back to the community centre in Brixton. The reporter asks some of the children what they think about the possible harmful effects of cannabis, citing scientific evidence that shows that over-indulgence in the drug can lead to schizophrenia and other psychological problems. I particularly liked the answer given by this child:
Lost in Translation
I'm starting to look like a
Here's another photo of my fingers for you. This one was taken through a sheet of 5mm-thick ice. I like the texture.
On Thursday J and I went to see Lost In Translation. It's not on general release in the UK, although quite a few cinemas are showing it - and all of those are absolutely packed out. We ended up having to sit in the 2nd row from the front, you know, with our heads tipped right back to take in the giant figures before us!
I haven't really got over the film yet. No, it's not really exciting. No, it's not got an incredible storyline. No, it doesn't make you laugh out loud all the way through - but it's one of the best films I've seen in ages. In fact I'd put it in my top 5 films of all time. Of course my Japanese connections played a large part in determining my emotional response to the film. Scenes of streets that I have walked down on many occasions, shots of stepping stones that I've hopped across, a branch of Starbucks that I used to sit in to write my diary... Much of the film was made in Nishi-Shinjuku, the neighbourhood in which I worked, not 9 minutes by subway from where I used to live.
There was a time last summer, when considering whether or not to enter university, that I felt a great deal of concern that my love for Japan was more a love for my girlfriend, and that if I was to return there following our breakup I would not have the same interest as I had once had. After all, I've only ever spent two weeks there without her.
However, since our parting I have not felt any lessening of my attraction to the place, and seeing films such as Lost in Translation adds to the confidence I have in my decision. The scenes set in various clubs in Shinjuku and Shibuya saw me yearning to return. I really can’t wait. OOOHHH it's gonna be such a party!!! Tee hee. Can't wait to write the mumble from there again - but this time I'll be getting myself in much more trouble!
The first flower of spring
Bus into town, met lots of people in a pub, then off to the Thekla, Bristol's famous club-in-a-boat. For the first half of the night the music was great, really danceable. Yeah, managed to work up a nice case of Granny's Hip syndrome. After an hour or so I found myself pressed up against a wall by a girl who was really very sexy, or so I thought. I'm not so sure now having downloaded the photos from my camera this morning. I wouldn't describe her as a Trog... the word "Vampire" springs to mind. Sexy vampire.
Well, that was fun anyhow. I felt like a teenager again, although of course when I was a teenager I missed out on all that, being far too unconfident to even consider getting involved with women. Oh, except for that girl who I met one night in Hereford town centre. I seem to remember some groping going on behind the supermarket just off Commercial Road. She really WAS a trog, and a huge one at that. Imagine my horror when, on starting college a couple of weeks later, I discovered that she was on my Theatre Studies course. That was so embarrrasing. My mate Trudie never let me live that down.
4am I got home. H wouldn't let me buy any food as we walked up Gloucester Road. Said I could have some toast once I got in. Toast? In that state? You must be joking.
I'm feeling a bit messy today. Bit bluuurrr.
In fact, I think I'll have to go and make a cup of tea.
I'm Seargeant Tame, this is DC Megan, may we come in?
Grevious tidings I bring. Please make sure that you are seated, and that your belt is fastened: you're in for a stormy ride.
The Daily Mumble will (probably) not be updated again this month.
Alas, my Toshiba laptop is feeling very under the weather. It's getting too hot, making it prone to sluggish performance. Because of this, on Wednesday my baby will be picked up and taken away to the menders who will hopefully lower its temperature, before returning it sometime next week. That means that tomorrow I'm going to have to spend ages backing up my 359 homemade videos, 2444 MP3 files, 3149 letters and emails, and 6071 photos - I kid you not! (Hurrah for DVD writers!).
Anyway anyway you don't want to know about all that. Let me tell you that I'm feeling really very happy tonight. Self-analysis has revealed that this is due to freindships, and the very slim prospect that I may be able to spend the summer in Japan (as mentioned above). I posted my application tonight.
And Uni... it's getting so close now!! tee hee! RAAAAAAAA.
Oh, I must mention my mate's website. He's a proffesional Flash Animation designer, and has just published his latest adventure starring Blokey. If you have broadband, and you're old enough to know how to disable your computer's parental controls, go to http://www.blokey.net, then Stories, then click on Stickman Army.
Alternatively, if it's penguin bashing you're after try http://home.tele2.fr/kcv/pinguin.swf.
Till next month, tarra!