The Daily Mumble August 2003 Archive
August 2003 saw Joseph being a really busy monkey, swinging from every available branch in the jungles of Bristol. Festivals, mad times with work mates, parties, picnics, fireworks and live concerts; all of these events ensured that the monkey never stopped. Read on to find out more...
Tame is Back.
Has it really been a month? Hhmm, I guess so. There's nothing like emotions to paralyse you Heah?! What fun it is to be human!
Anyway, I've decided not to involve you in what's been going on behind the scenes, because that would be very insensitive and silly of me. Instead, I'll just say that I've recently spotted a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. The train I'm on is unfortunately not a Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train), it is not gliding along on continuously-welded tracks at 500km/ph. No, I'm on a British Rail train which has a tendency to stop in the middle of fields for hours on end for no apparent reason. Then, when it does arrive at a station the doors don't open because there's someone causing trouble in another carriage, and we have to wait for the police to turn up to take them away. There's leaves on the line in this tunnel, there's the wrong kind of snow and the tracks have buckled in the mad summer heat. So yes, there's light at the end of the tunnel I've been in, but it's taking a while to reach it.
Before I start to tell you about what I'm doing now, I've got a couple of tales from the past few weeks that I'd like to share with you.
is it that so many many people I know were born in July? Not only my
brother and sister, but also Jo, Catherine, Ruth and (I think) Sarah
too. These four old friends were responsible for creating not only the
biggest Pims Party that Hereford has ever seen, but also the biggest
After-Pims-Party-Party that Hereford has
wasn't quite sure how I became the official Pims Cocktail maker,
but I wasn't letting that worry me too much. No, I just got
on with my job, mixing and carrying out various quality control
tests, such as raising a glass containing the mix to my lips,
tipping, then swallowing. I don't know why, but getting that
perfect combination of Pims, lemonade and soda got a lot easier
as the afternoon progressed. As
well as old friends, there were a lot of new faces there too.
Us lads had a bonding session with a huge tent. Everyone knows
that only men can put tents up... of course when it was finally
in place the women came along to tell us that the whole thing
was the wrong way around, and could we please rotate it 180°
(which involved lifting it over a hedge). The
After-Pims-Party-Party kicked in at about five. Wine, beer,
Pass-the-Parcel and a treasure hunt kept us all busy until about,
er, 2am? Oh, no, we were over at the park at that time weren't
we. Erm, tell you what, have a look at the photos
instead because all the pressure and responsibility involved
with being a cocktail maker had really gone to my head. Here's
one guy who cooks a mean BBQ breakfast, but needs to do a bit
more work on his drunken chicken impression. Everyone
was really lovely. I like lovely people, they're lovely. Thank
you lovely people.
I wasn't quite sure how I became the official Pims Cocktail maker, but I wasn't letting that worry me too much. No, I just got on with my job, mixing and carrying out various quality control tests, such as raising a glass containing the mix to my lips, tipping, then swallowing. I don't know why, but getting that perfect combination of Pims, lemonade and soda got a lot easier as the afternoon progressed.
As well as old friends, there were a lot of new faces there too. Us lads had a bonding session with a huge tent. Everyone knows that only men can put tents up... of course when it was finally in place the women came along to tell us that the whole thing was the wrong way around, and could we please rotate it 180° (which involved lifting it over a hedge).
The After-Pims-Party-Party kicked in at about five. Wine, beer, Pass-the-Parcel and a treasure hunt kept us all busy until about, er, 2am? Oh, no, we were over at the park at that time weren't we. Erm, tell you what, have a look at the photos instead because all the pressure and responsibility involved with being a cocktail maker had really gone to my head.
Here's one guy who cooks a mean BBQ breakfast, but needs to do a bit more work on his drunken chicken impression.
Everyone was really lovely. I like lovely people, they're lovely. Thank you lovely people.
Last week, for six days, I completely forgot the word "bar". It simply dropped out of my vocab, until someone prompted me into using it again on Friday. In the light of recent events I'd been finding the lack of the word a big problem.
Whilst we're on the subject of Tame Goes Senile: I had my digital camera stolen a few days back. I was gutted, it's responsible for virtually all of the photos on this site (and many more offline that are far too sensational for TGW's 15 certificate). I had to buy another due to my television commitments (see below), so popped out into town the following day to do so. On going to bed that night I found my old one under a pile of clothes on the bed... but was far too attached to the new one to give it up. Thankfully a Japanese friend stepped in to save me by buying the old one and releasing me of some of the money-related guilt. So now I have a very sexy new Sony Cybershot DSC-P12 (5.0 Mega pixels) camera to make up for my lack of close friends. It's not very cuddly though, and the titanium body's a bit cold next to the skin.
Well, come on, you knew it had to happen sometime.
Yes, here I am, posing in the most, erm, I won't tell you what I really think of the set at the HTV Studios in Bristol where the 90 minute shoot took place in case the Producer of this six part series check's out the Mumble.
I'm going to be very ambiguous about this. All I'll say is that it's being broadcast next month on ITV, and my interview will make up half of the final 30 minute episode. I must say though, for a first experience of life in front of the cameras, I found it pretty relaxing and quite good fun. Ok, that's ITV dealt with - now, who's next?
I'd mentioned ITV's interest in me to Claire, a good friend and colleague at the drunken office. She was a teeny weeny bit jealous, telling me that she'd been trying to get into television for a long time. She went on to mention a website she'd signed up to, www.beonscreen.com, and suggested that I join too if I enjoyed my adventures in boxland.
That night, not thinking much of it, I visited the site and sent them my details. The very next day, whilst monkeying around at work my mobile rang: it was the BBC in London! After a long chat with the lovely Producer it was all set, they'd come up to meet me for lunch the following Monday and find out if I was a suitable contributor for their program. They were making a science program looking at how emotions, feelings such as those that you have when falling in love, splitting up, and everything in between, affect your body physically. So, for example they may show a clip of me feeling very happy, and then cut to a 3D computer animation that shows what chemicals are doing what inside me and why my heart is beating faster etc.
Well, naturally, in that first meeting they were completely bowled over by my abilities and so returned a week later for for a 7 hour shoot. First of all there was all the scene setting: some great sequences featuring yours truly doing everyday things like watering plants, relaxing in the garden and tapping away on this laptop. There then followed a couple of interviews, before we headed out into town to capture me feeling isolated and lonely in the big wide world surrounded by happy couples. I got quite drunk when doing the bar scene... then had to sit absolutely motionless for ten minutes with the camera rolling and folks walking in and out of the shot - they'll speed that sequence up to get that great isolated effect.
All in all it was a great day. Centre of attention and all that, does wonders for your ego. I was also happy to discover that I feel very natural and relaxed in front of the camera; good to know for when I launch my career in the world of Japanese celebritynessdom.
The BBC crew were back yesterday to review the video diaries I've been making for them recently, and to shoot another hour or two of footage of me down by Bristol's beautiful harbour side, along with Claire, my friend from work. I've been trying to find out what she told them, but she's tight-lipped so I'll have to wait until the series is broadcast later this year.
I spent much of last year living in a cloud. I must have written about it at some point in the mumble, but I can't find that entry at the moment because I seem to make references to clouds almost every month. Hhhm. Well, anyway, yesterday whilst reviewing some old video footage for use by the BBC I found a film I shot about 6 months ago. In that I described how it felt to live in a cloud. I felt permanently stoned, detached from the world around me and unable to plug in. Not just the big wide world, but also my own personal world was somewhat hazy. This went on for many months, and I began to feel that it was some kind of mental disorder (or in my my case mental order which is far more disturbing as I've lived with mental disorder for 25 years now). I guessed that it could have been connected with my epilepsy, but as I was on my lowest ever dosage of medication for that I rubbished the idea.
But yesterday, I realised with some surprise that I no longer feel detached from my immediate world. I feel clear about what I'm doing and how my physical actions affect the things around me. When I walk down the street I am aware that other people can see me, and if they wished to they could interact with me. This leads me to question why did I feel detached in the first place? Was it because I was living in Japan? I don't remember any detachment in Switzerland, or in England before that. Maybe it was a Japanese thing, maybe it was the Gaijin Bubble. Or maybe it was due to a lack of drugs. I always thought that it would be the other way around though, i.e. the drugs dull my senses. But of course I can't be sure - I've always been on them as an adult (albeit on a very low dose last winter) so I don't know anything different. I wonder what I'm like when not under their influence?
Well, whatever the reason, it's good news. I'm in touch with my world once again. My world that is. I haven't yet attempted to plug into the wider world, that's a different kettle of fish entirely. I avoid the media like the plague (oh, except when it's focusing on my world!). Last night a friend came round to watch a bit of primetime evening comedy and light entertainment - sitting there made me feel extremely uncomfortable, so much so that after 15 minutes I had to leave the room. I can't hack such strong doses of popular British Culture. It's just too full-on and alien for this Tame to handle.
Our manager IS God
It's no lie. Richard IS God. We're trying to persuade him to start up a Richard School of Management, so that millions of other poor office workers with mundane database jobs from hell can also benefit from the joys that his style of leadership brings to us.
What other boss would provide breakfast from his filing cabinet (Shredded Wheat or Muesli), allow you to go home early most days (“on the understanding that you make it up later in the week”), make the tea and coffee, order extra sandwiches for meetings so that there’s plenty of left-overs for the mere mortals on the office floor, sign time sheets that state that you’ve worked a full 40 hours a week every week, give you a pay rise after your first two weeks in the job “because I know that the job is really tedious”, take you to the pub every lunchtime and pay for every other round of drinks, bring in mounds of food for elevenses, (including home-made apple and blackberry crumble), allow you to take any time off work that you want with very little (if any) advance notification, have a mini-fridge on his desk stocked with Bacardi Breezers for those long afternoons when the databases get a bit much to deal with, allow you to update The Daily Mumble during working hours… I could go on but I expect you’re feeling quite sick by now of these tales from the life of an office monkey.
Last Thursday was Mark’s birthday, which coincided nicely with our last working day of the week. We must have started on the vodka drinks at about 11am, then it was off to the pub at lunchtime where Richard had a pint, whilst Mark, Claire and I got through three bottles of wine! That afternoon we were ordered not to go anywhere near the computer databases due to the amount of damage we could do with a single incorrect keystroke. Single incorrect keystroke? That’s a joke – I couldn’t even figure out how to read an email! Instead, I spent much of the afternoon on the phone to friends in Tokyo and America! I don’t think I sobered up until 10pm!
Sadly, all of this will be a thing of the past come the end of the month, as Richard is leaving the company. We won’t actually be getting a new manager, but no doubt there will be someone keeping an eye on us. Mind you, I think if things were to carry on as they are at the moment for much longer none of us would ever be able to do a “normal” job again!
However, the fun doesn't stop at home time - because 6pm (or 5pm as is usually the case) marks the start of the afterwork party. The afterwork party featured below went on so late that the three of us ended up sharing the same bed (through utter exhaustion and a need to sleep I assure you). I bet no other team in Aztec West Business Park can boast that they've all shared a bed...
The Welsh Birthday Bash
The Welsh Garden Project site where I've spent the summer weekends bramble-bashing was the venue for Wales' biggest ever 60th birthday party for a certain mystery friend of mine who for mysterious reasons cannot be mysteriously named on this website. A fandabulous time was had by all, what with all the food, drink, hill-climbing and lovely people. The evening was topped off by Richie doing his amazing falling-asleep-whilst-keeping-an-iron-grip-on-a-bottle-of-beer trick. Oh, and the fireworks, they were fantastic, all one hundred and thirty odd of them. For more photos and stuff check out my, er, photo album.
To camp or not to camp
I feel far more relaxed and at home in the company of women, and always have done. My three best friends from my school/ college years are all female, if you look at the list of people that I have had regular email contact with in the past 5 years you will find 110 women but only 52 men. Well, perhaps that's normal, I don't know. I feel strongly averse to ladish culture; it's a different world of which I know very little, but what I do know I don't like. (Just like the UK singles chart - having just taken a look at this week's list I can tell you that out of 40 entries I only recognise the names of eight artists, none of whom I like!).
I've also found that many women feel far more relaxed around gay (as opposed to straight) male friends. Once again, this might just be down to the kind of women I hang out with... but I think not. There's that safety barrier, knowing that there are no intentions, knowing that you can just be totally open and honest and share words on subjects that you really want to talk about without inhibitions.
Er, yes, well, anyway, this week I discovered to my shock that my camp nature comes across far more strongly when I'm in a Japanese speaking environment. I mean, I've known for some time now that I tend to use a few feminine expressions, but I didn't realise the extent of my campness.
Imagine: you've spent about two years learning the basics of a language from text books and friends, and then just when you start to really enjoy using your vocab, you meet a teacher of that language who bursts into hysterics every time you open your mouth. So it was for me last Wednesday. I was at the Japan club, recounting for a Japanese teacher whom I'd just met the tale of how (an hour beforehand) I'd had a really nasty bike crash, which saw me go over the handlebars but make a miraculous escape with almost no injuries. Every few seconds she'd laugh out loud, and say, "No! You can't say that! Men don't use that expression! You should say..." I couldn't believe it - everything I'd learnt was wrong!
The remainder of the evening was spent dissecting my speech, and replacing the expressions that I had been using with new macho alternatives. "Why do you speak like this?" she asked. "I think living with Kaechan might have had something to do with it!" Not that Kae ever deliberately taught me feminine Japanese, but obviously being together pretty much 24/7 for so long did have an affect on me!
However, last night, following a discussion with another good Japanese friend here in Bristol I came to a decision: I'm not going to make a strong effort to illiminate all camp Japanese from my vocab. Instead, I'll learn it alongside the male expressions. Over the past year I've found that by deliberately misusing carefully selected words I can cause much amusement - this will come in very handy when I'm forging ahead with my career as a comedian in Japan.
How to not fall over when very drunk
Walking home from the town centre last night, my friend and I spotted a man stuck between a road sign and a lamp post. He was laughing hysterically and told us that he's been there for about an hour. We asked him if he wanted any help to get out but he said no thanks, he was perfectly happy being wedged there.
Looking back as we rounded the corner at the top of the road, we could still see him, laughing hysterically, stuck between his road sign and lamp post.
A very English (Japanese) Picnic
I got a text this morning from a friend of a friend of a friend, whom I met yesterday for the first time for about 2 minutes. I'd overheard him mention the word "Japanese" in conversation, and as a result of that, today I found myself back at Ashton Court, this time surrounded by friends new and old from all over the place (although mainly Japan!). There was much eating, drinking, cricket and football, frisbee, spilt wine and origami. Mmm, all in all a lovely afternoon.
The Good Samaritans
Driving home from the cinema t'other night, Jo, Becky, Laura and I spotted a body by the side of the road. We were in the middle of nowhere - no pubs nearby, and absolutely no pedestrians - what the hell was it doing there? . We stopped, and found this chap almost unconscious lying next to a puddle of sick. Hhmm, what to do? Well, he was breathing, and after a couple of prods talking too. He couldn't remember his phone number or address. He had no money for a taxi, couldn't stand up (let alone walk) in any case and had no mobile on him.
We thought about calling the police, but having read stories in the press this week about officers taking 5 days to respond to emergency calls, decided that we should persevere with getting some sense out of Dan first. After about twenty minutes he managed to remember his address, but when I called directory enquiries I was told that there was no such place. By this time Dan was a little more talkative. We'd sung happy birthday to him and asked for his views on the Iraq Dossier, and then following a little more intellectual stimulation he managed to drag up from the depths of his foggy memory a real address. I called his mum, who called his dad, who eventually turned up to apologise and drag Dan off home!
In total we were there for about an hour - for which Dan thanked us when he called last night.
Was I ever like that? Surely not. I'd never wake up to find myself with a toilet seat around my neck.
Very tired today. When we returned to the office from the pub at lunchtime yesterday all the power was off. All the power that is except for our four computers - most bizarre. However, as the main server was down there was absolutely nothing we could do - so at about 2pm we were told by Richard to disappear, which we did, to the pub near Claire's house which has a very large bed-like sofa thing. There followed a few bottles of white, a lot of chattle, then a great smearing and licking of a custard cream cakes. I've got videos...
But I'd spent the afternoon feeling displaced, and that feeling just wouldn't go away. Eventually I decided that the best thing to do would be to go home, but once home I felt even more displaced and ended up causing myself all sorts of emotional grief by acting on my feelings whilst under the influence of Blossom Hill. Baka jagaimo!
Despite a bad start this morning I'm beginning to feel better. I met the nicest bus driver in Bristol on the way to work. He was really helpful and chatty, really human, not at all distant or uncaring as so many are around here. He even said "See you again!" as I got off and gave me a wave when he drove by. That put a smile on my face. It's the simple things in life.
So despite my complete lack of energy today I'm actually feeling quite positive. I'm really soooooooooooooooo looking forward to college. In fact I could even start a countdown: 27 days until full time education sees the most enthusiastic student in its history ever walk through its doors!
Never update your website whilst under the influence of alcohol
Well done Joseph, you've done it again!
It's not often that I cause grief by publishing my internal mumbles on the net. But when I do, boy does it stress me out. I HATE offending people - I really can't hack it, and will always go out of my way to heal any wound that my words have caused.
Tonight I found that something that I'd written last week had really upset someone who I care for. When I received the email telling me that I'd hurt them, I was mortified - and I couldn't even remember writing the paragraph in question. With a sick feeling in my stomach I checked the Mumble, and sure enough, there it was. Oh dear.
It had been a long, emotional day. I'd ended up by myself at home in the evening, feeling lonely and neglected. No friends to call, nothing but a bottle of beer for company <sigh>. And I started to ramble, and my feelings got diverted, and those misplaced feelings manifested themselves in words which only a couple of hours later were as foreign to me as a Yorkshire Terrier is to the "Please switch off your phone" adverts at cinemas.
I'm surprised I didn't remove that posting the next day. I think I would have done if I'd remembered writing it. Needless to say it's gone now.
Big apology to the person I've hurt. Sorry. Hope I can make it up to you, hope you understand.
Is anyone reading this?
The above mumble then leads me to think about the whole publishing my life on the net thing. It's kinda creepy when people I know start talking about stuff that I've done that I haven't told them about. With strangers it's ok, but friends? Of course this is a completely ridiculous mumble to be having with myself as it's my choice to put this here. I know only too well that as soon as someone knows my full name, Joseph Tame, they have easy access to over 1152 html pages of information about me, including what number I have difficulty counting to (answers on a postcard). Enter my name in Google: how many links to TGW do you get? Then of course there's www.josephtame.com . Not exactly rocket science. It's for these reasons that I am careful about who I give my full name to. If I trust someone, and am happy for them to read all about me, I'll tell them my surname (whether they look or not is up to them). I like being open and honest; I've got nothing to hide (and if I did have I wouldn't tell you about it anyway!).
Photos can be a sore point too. Generally, if I take a photo of someone (friend or stranger) with the intention of using it on my website then I always tell them that that's what I intend to do (both drunken Dan and Mr Lamppost pictured above were happy to have their smiling faces online). If they ask me not to, that's fine. Some friends have asked me to remove photos, which of course I've done (in one case I had to delete over 300 images, took me ages to sort that album out!)
Basically, it's one big balancing act. On the one hand there's my desire to be open and, well, tell it like it is, but on the other hand I'm only too aware of who checks TGW on a regular basis. Grr grrr conflict.
Most of the time it's not a big issue though. I write this for myself and myself only. I don't really care how many hits I get. Yeah, it's better if I just imagine that I'm the only one reading this.
I haven't got anything to tell you tonight. Just wanted to say RAAAAAAA!!! and have you seen this months photo album, it's got over 100 photos in and they're all dead excitin'! Oh, hang on, this link won't work till Sunday night as my connection here in Wales is so slow it would take hours to upload those photos... wait till i get my broadband back eh?
Not just any old Spam!
In my bulk mail box this evening, amongst the offers for penis enlargement pills and consolidation loans, I came across this gem:
Ever since I first took a train from my home town of Hereford in the late 80's, this sign has fascinated me. Situated in south Wales, a couple of stops from Hereford, Cwmbrân is a small town not known for anything in particular. It has a supermarket or two, a garden centre and a hair salon, Split Ends.
Massive Attack and Streets Live in Queens Square Bristol
A couple of minutes later it all began again, but this time it was the crowd to my right who were roaring. They climaxed when a white bag was thrust abover their heads - this was met with an equally loud booing from the red bag crowd!
I like that kind of thing. You know, strangers bonding just like that. I'd like to think it was a British trait - is it? Does anyone know of any other cultures in which this kind of spontaneos connecting through downright silly humour can be witnessed? reminds me of the time I went to the Isle of Wight Festival. There, in the middle of the night a great chourous of "BOLLLLLOOXXX!!" would ring out across the camping field, with everyone participating.
Massive Attack were bloody excellent. They did their songs, they flashed their lights, it was all very fabby. You should have been there.
That's my review.
Extreme Surf Finals 2003: riding the tide in South Devon
The last weekend in August sees the hottest event on the international Pro-Boarder's calendar: The annual Extreme Surf Competition, in which 50 of the world's top tanned beach bums with a talent for riding the waves at up to 70mph gather at Bantham, South Devon, to compete for the coveted Arthur Goggins Trophy.
Naturally, my brother Stephen and I made it through to the final round - in fact if you look closely at the picture below you'll see us doing our famous Synchronised Wave Slammer Oojamaflip Wammy routine.
Sadly, we were both knocked out in the semi-final when a very large drunken joy-riding fish came careering through the water and smashed the fins off our boards. Oh well, nevermind, there's always next year.
(ok, ok, so that's not quite true. Actually, it was the first time I'd been surfing since 1991, so I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Also, there were absolutely no waves. As one girl who was sitting on her board looking out to sea put it, "I should have told my friends I was going floating, not surfing!" Despite this, Stephen and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I liked the sort of communal laid back vibe amongst the twenty or so of us who were out there paddling. It was just nice to hang out in the water (which was surprisingly warm - although I did wee in my wetsuit so that might have had something to do with that!). I'll definately be going surfing again; watch out for Stephen and I at next year's Extreme Surf Finals.
Awww that was such a lovely weekend. Great food (including two delitastic fried breakfasts), great company, surfing, videos, wine and a stroll on Dartmoor: great holiday. It was also a great emotional holiday. A whole three days of being totally content and happy just being me with no-one else to worry about. Just silly me, silly louise and my silly brother who is about as silly as me. Don't think that's possible? Have you seen the latest video to be added to Tame Goes Wild? "The Bacon Terrorist" is a gripping action packed-thriller, and can be viewed by clicking here. You'll also find a nice little clip of me in my wetsuit...
September starts tomorrow, so I guess that means that summer's over. I'm excited .
Oh crikey, the family sitting opposite me are really getting on my tits. The mother is so harsh to the children, so rude. They're astonishingly polite and well-behaved, but the mother is just bang out of order. Snatching things from their hands. Ordering them to do things without a hint of a please. It's so not neccessary. You could say that I have no right to comment as I've never had children (that I know of hee hee), but, I have a right to say whatever I want so those people can just be quiet. Can she not see that her complete lack of respect from them is just wrong? Has she considered the long-term effects of her harshness upon her children? It always gets to me that, when I see parents treating their children badly. Really gets me mad. Makes me think of them as a different species - so far removed is their behaviour from what I feel is acceptable in this world. Adds to my feeling of being a foreigner here in the UK - which isn't a bad thing. I positively enjoy it, but I am surprised that I still feel this way five months after my return from Tokyo. Do you think it will continue? Will I ever feel a part of this British Society again as I once did? maybe not.
I hope not. It's such fun being free.