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Danny Wallace.


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Well hopefully you all know who Dave Gorman is, he's the comedian guy who started the awesome quests 'Are You Dave Gorman?', 'Dave Gormans Important Astrological Experiment' and 'Dave Gormans Googlewhack Adventure'. If you remember that, you'll also remember that on Dave Gormans first quirky mission he took along a friend. Danny Wallace.

Well Danny Wallace is equally as funny as Dave Gorman, as I'm sure you all know from reading his first solo book, 'Join Me'. (Which is currently being made into a film)

Anyway, he has two projecty things going on at the moment, he's written a book called 'Yes Man' in which he decides that anytime he is offered an invitation, he will say 'Yes' no matter what it is. It's hilarious. I've had the book a couple of hours, and I'm already a third of the way through. He's joined a peace protest, invented a new kind of cutlery, and for reasons that only he can justify made his way to Holland where he'll probably be offered some wacky drugs. This book is also being made into a film which is being worked on by Jack Black.

He's also got a new TV show starting this wednesday at 10pm called 'How To Start Your Own Country' which should be awesome. He tries to get his flat legally declared a separate country with it's own government, laws, flag and Eurovision entry.

Should be awesome.

Yeah. Spread the Wallace love.

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Guest SakurabaFan

I think this show will be pretty good. I've read Danny's Join Me book but not he's newer one. I also loved the Dave Gorman anticts but you gotta feel sorry for Danny losing his girlfriend to all this crazy stuff he does. It will be intresting to see what he's like presenting since he only had a small section on Gormans shows before. I swear he has done some radio stuff before so hopefully this will be a pretty good show.

Oh and Big up to BBC2 coz they are putting this on their instead of BBC3 first. BBC comedy is usually very good imo.

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Dave Gorman has no new shows on at the mo. He has a radio show coming soon, and he's still touring the googlewhack adventure.

Oh cool, mis-read it. What radio channel is the show going to be on? I might actually have to set up my newly bought radio (1 month ago) to listen to it.

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In which the Story Begins

It is quite incredible how a bus - a simple, red, London bus - can change your life.

There were other reasons for why what happened eventually happened, of course. I'm not saying it was all about the bus. But the bus was pretty high on the list. Or, more accurately, the man sitting next to me on the bus. Here he is, right now - flicking through his Evening Standard, checking his cheap black watch, mere moments after uttering a sentence that, quite without his knowing, has had the most unexpected effect on me.

It's like one of those moments in a cartoon, when a second of complete and total revelation hits an unenlightened fool ... a moment in which they're bathed in a golden light from the heavens above; their face a picture of comfort; the only sound the chorus of a thousand angels.

Of course, real life isn't quite like that. I'm on a crowded bus in the East End of London, for a start, and so the only thing I'm bathed in is an unpleasant mist of sweat and coughs.

But it's still an epiphany. And I'm still smiling from what I've heard - smiling from what I've learnt. I start to wonder whether anyone else is feeling the same. So I sneak a chance to glance around. To see if one of my fellow passengers has been struck by the man's simple message; his message of hope, and optimism, and all the things I hadn't realised I'd been losing sight of.

But no one has. Not that I can see anyway. That's okay, though. There's time for them.

Because this man next to me ... this man has changed everything.

'Maybe it was Jesus,' said Ian, putting his pint down on the table. We were in the Yorkshire Grey and Ian was a bit drunk. 'Or maybe it was Buddha! I'd love to meet Buddha. He looks like a right laugh. What did this bloke look like? If he had a beard it was probably Jesus, and if he had a belly it was probably Buddha.'

'He had a beard, but it wasn't a Jesus beard.'

'A belly, then?' he said, with what looked like real hope in his eyes. 'Did he have a Buddha belly?'

'I'm fairly sure he wasn't Buddha, either. This was an Indian bloke. His name was Medhi, or something.'

'"Medhi" sounds a bit like "Jesus".'

'No it doesn't. And it wasn't Jesus. What would Jesus be doing in Bethnal Green?'

'There are some nice discount shops in Bethnal Green.'

'Jesus is the son of God, Ian, he doesn't need discount shops.'

'Cor. Imagine the pocket money you'd get if you were the son of God.'

'Ian ... I'm trying to tell you about my life-changing moment and you're going on about Jesus in a pound shop.'

'Sorry, go on. So there was this bloke on a bus last week, who wasn't a deity or a son of a God, and then there was also your diary?'

Yes. There was also my diary. High up on the list, right under the bus, was my diary. A diary I had only started because I was afraid I would forget all the wonderful things I was doing. All the dazzling, crazy, hazy times. The important times, the carefree times, the times I'd look back on as the times of my life.

Only when I flicked through it did I realise there was nothing to forget. Or, rather, nothing worth remembering.

Things had been different last year. Last year was a year of adventure. Of fun. Of friends. But I'd slowly begun to realise, six months into a new year, that all my stories were about last year. All my memories, too. I'd been cruising on past glories, dining out on better times. Well, that's not strictly true. Not true at all. I'd been dining in on them.

For a number of months I'd been labouring under the impression that everything in my life was fine. I was a single man, in his mid-twenties, living in one of the most exciting cities in the world. Turns out I was a single man, in his pants, sitting in his flat.

It had happened to me once before, this strange sense of mid- twenties crisis, but it had happened when I'd lacked direction. These days I had direction. Plenty of it. But the direction was down.

In my mind, I was one of London's young, thrusting urbanites. In my mind, I was always on the go, always had somewhere to be, always in the thick of things. I thought I was like something out of an advert. I probably even thought I had a moped.

I couldn't have been more wrong. About the moped, especially.

And this is what I would finally realise for sure after I got home from talking to the man on the bus.

I'd ended up talking to the man on the bus quite by chance.

It was, until that moment, just another day working in the West End, followed by just another dash to the tube station, in what was just another hopeless attempt to beat the rush hour and get home without spending an hour on a crowded train with my cheeks pressed up against a stranger's nipples, receiving severe paper cuts every time they turned a page of their book.

We'd been standing, me and this man, waiting for the Central Line train to take us from Holborn to the East End when the announcement had spluttered and stuttered its way over the tannoy. It was a security alert. We were being asked to leave. Our journeys home had just gained an hour. We'd be shunted and squeezed on to buses outside and driven home, very slowly, during rush hour, on a rainy, rainy London night.

The man and I had raised our eyebrows at each other and smiled in a what's-the-world-coming-to way, but other than that we didn't say a word to one another. We'd simply started to walk up the stairs and out of the station, like the good, old-fashioned, obedient British citizens we were.

'Nice weather for this!' said the man, as we jogged through a slanting rain and flashed our travelcards at the bus driver. I ha-ha'd, probably a little too ha-hard, and we joined the seething masses on board the bus.

After ten minutes and three stops, we found seats for ourselves, and after another ten, we had begun to chat.

'Where are you headed?' I'd asked.

'Aldgate,' he'd replied.

The man, as it turned out, was a teacher.

And he was about to teach me.

'So what did he teach you?' said Ian.

'I'll tell you in a minute.'

'Tell me now. I want to know what kind of wisdom he imparted on you that's caused you to summon me here.'

'I didn't "summon" you here.'

'You sent me an e-mail saying your entire life had changed and that you wanted to meet up more.'

'That's hardly summoning. I was more saying "do you fancy a pint?"'

'Great. I do. Thanks.'

I sighed, stood up, and went to get a round in.

Now that I think about it, my downward spiral had probably started after I'd been dumped by my girlfriend in the late autumn. It was a shock to the system; a body blow that had really changed things.

But don't go thinking I'm all hung up on an ex-girlfriend. This isn't one of those stories of obsession, and regret, and of trying-to-get-back-together. I've never been someone who would have made an effective stalker, for one thing, lacking as I do both the necessary energies, and a decent pair of binoculars.

It's just that being dumped suddenly puts time into perspective. I'm not saying my three years with Hanne were wasted, because they weren't; they were great and warm and loving. I'm just saying that at the end of any relationship you take a long hard look at the years that have gone and say 'what now?'

So I did three years of growing up in two weeks. I returned to the world of freelance employment as a radio producer at the BBC. I got a mortgage. And a pension. I started to shop at Habitat and IKEA. I experimented with new and exciting pastas. I bought a colander, and some air freshener, and a fountain pen. I learnt how to iron. I even bought a plant.

Most of these were small changes. But soon, quite without my knowing, I developed a certain satisfaction for staying in. For pottering about, and tinkering with things. For slouching, and napping, and channel-hopping. Soon, that was all I wanted to do. And so I became the man who could wriggle out of any prior engagement. Who could spot an invitation coming a mile off and head it off at the pass. The man who'd gladly swap a night down the pub for just one whiff of an episode of EastEnders. The man who'd send an e-mail instead of attend a birthday. Who'd text instead of call, and call instead of visit. I became the man who'd white-lie. The man who always had an excuse. The man who always said no.

And I was perfectly happy. Perfectly happy to be me, myself, and ironing. Perfectly happy until that night, on that bus, next to that man.

* * *

'Okay. So there was a man,' said Ian. 'And you sat next to him. So far this isn't really what you'd call a classic anecdote.'

'But it's what he told me that was important, Ian.'

'Yes, it sounds it. But what did he say? What was it that he actually said that changed things? Because right now, all I know is that a man said something to you.'

'Have patience.'

'He said "have patience"?'

'No, that's what I said, just then. What he said was more important.'

'But what was it?'

It was my friends who'd noticed it first. They'd noticed I'd changed, or that I just wasn't around as much as I used to be, or that I was just saying 'no' a lot more.

There were the odd nights down the pub, of course, and I always agreed that we should do it more often, but it just never seemed to be the right night. I was too tired, or there was something I wanted to watch, or I just felt like being alone. I couldn't put my finger on it. But it didn't make me sad - that was the weird thing. Not while it was happening, anyway. It only made me sad when I finally realised the effect it was having on my friendships; on the friends I was letting down, or annoying, or disappointing, or even losing.

But at the time, I just didn't notice it. The sad fact is, saying no had become a habit.

'Aha! I knew it!' said Ian, pointing his finger slightly too close to my face. 'I knew you were always making excuses!'

'I know. And I'm sorry.'

'That night when you said you couldn't come out because you'd won a competition to meet Lionel Richie, was that an excuse?'


'How about that time you couldn't come out because you said you'd accidentally reversed all your leg joints?'

'That was quite obviously a lie. And I'm sorry. But there will be no more excuses. Honestly, Ian, I'm a changed man.'

'Jesus, Dan ... that night I sent Hanne round your house you acted all offended when she even suggested you were making up excuses!'

* * *

Ian had become concerned that I wasn't going out enough any more. And so he'd decided to take matters into his own hands. Every couple of days there'd be another idea, or invitation, or suggestion for a night out. He'd send me e-mails, and text me, and leave grumpy messages on my answerphone.

'Danny,' they'd say. 'I know you're there. How do I know you're there? Because you're always there. You're not picking up because you're scared I'll invite you out, which I'm going to do anyway. We'll be at the pub from eight. I look forward to receiving your standard text message saying you can't make it and you're sorry and we should have fun. Bye.'

And then I'd get all hoity-toity and text him, and say i'm not in actually. i'm out. but i can't make it so i'm sorry and have fun. And then I'd realise that he'd left the message on my home phone, and that to have heard it I would have to have been in. And then I'd blush and he'd text back and call me a wanker.

But then one evening Ian had bumped into Hanne, and shared his concerns. That Friday night, she'd turned up at nine or ten o'clock, unannounced, and carrying a bottle of wine.

'So what's going on?' she said, using her hand to brush some stale rice off the sofa and taking a seat.

'How do you mean?'

'You. What's happened to you?'

Hanne filled some glasses while I considered her question. I didn't know what she meant. I checked myself in the mirror to see what could possibly have happened to me. Maybe someone had painted a tiger on my face, or tied balloons to my ears.

'Nothing's happened to me, Hanne.'

'Well, I suppose that's true.'


'What I mean, Dan, is that nothing's happened to you. Nothing does, any more, apparently. Your friends are worried. Where have you been for the past six months?'

'Here,' I said, confused. 'I've been right here!'

'Precisely. You've been here. Where were you on Steve's birthday?'

'I was ... busy!' I lied, trying desperately to remember what excuse I'd used that time. 'I went to a Women and War exhibition.'

I never said they were good excuses.

'Okay. And where were you when everyone else was at Tom's stag night?'

'Again - busy. I'm very busy, Hanne. Look at me.'

I don't know why I asked Hanne to look at me. It's not as if I looked particularly busy. I was just a man standing up.

'You're no more busy than your friends. We've all got jobs, Dan, but we all find time to do other things, too. You've cut yourself off, and we're concerned. You don't have fun any more.'

'I do! I have loads of fun! And I have loads of fun new hobbies!'

'Like what?'

I struggled to find an answer. Of course I had fun! Surely I did! I just couldn't think of any examples right now. Hanne had put me on the spot, that was all. But there must be something I enjoy doing.

'I ... enjoy toast.' I said.

'You enjoy toast,' said Hanne, who, because she is Norwegian, likes to be matter-of-fact about things.

'Yes, but not just toast,' I said, defensively. 'Other things, too.'

'Like what?'

My mind raced. What else was fun?

'Theme parks.'

'Right,' said Hanne. 'So you've been eating toast and going to theme parks, have you?'


'For six months.'

'On and off.'

'You hate theme parks,' she said. 'So which theme parks?'


'Which theme parks have you been going to?'

I think she may have been on to me. I looked around the room, desperate for inspiration.

'Shelf ... Adventure.'


I cleared my throat.

'Shelf Adventure.'

'Shelf Adventure?'


Hanne took a sip of her wine. So did I. Of my wine, I mean, not hers. Taking a sip of her wine would have spoilt the atmosphere.

'Any others?' she said, finally. I could tell she thought she was going to enjoy catching me out. 'Or was it just Shelf Adventure?'

* * *

'So you were making Shelf Adventure up too! I knew it!' said Ian.

'Of course I was making Shelf Adventure up! How many adventures can you have with a shelf?'

'I couldn't find a thing about it on the Internet. Hanne knew you were lying too, you know.'

'I guessed that she probably had,' I said.

'And then what happened?'

'Is this about us, Dan?' said Hanne, getting her stuff together in the hallway. 'Because we split up?'

I didn't know what to say. So I didn't say anything at all.

'It just seems like you're doing all the things that I would once have loved you to do ... the job, the mortgage, the staying in more ... you're not doing this ... for me, are you?'

I smiled, gently.

'No, Hanne. Don't worry.'

'Because you know that now we've split up you can do all the things that used to annoy me? You can come home drunk whenever you like, and you can do as many stupid boy-projects as you want.'

'It's not about us, Hanne ...'

'Because you know that just because you've changed doesn't mean we're going to get back together, don't you?'

'I know.'

'Even if you did buy handwash for the bathroom.'

'I know,' I said.

'And you can't mend a relationship with a garlic crusher.'

'Is that a Norwegian proverb?'

'No. I'm referring to the new garlic crusher in your kitchen.'

'I didn't even know it was a garlic crusher. And no, I know you can't mend a relationship with a garlic crusher. To be honest, I don't even know how you crush a garlic with one.'

'Okay, then,' said Hanne, opening the door to leave. 'But listen. You should make more of an effort. It's time you got back out there. It's time you stopped making excuses, and saying no to everyone. Because you're not just saying no to your friends - you're saying no to yourself.'

I paused for a second to place the quote.

'Dawson's Creek?'

'Yep,' said Hanne.



'Look, Dan,' said Ian. 'Will you just tell me what this fucking bloke on the bus said to you, or should I make another appointment?'

'Okay, I'll tell you.'

I put my pint down on the table and looked Ian in the eye.

'He said: "Say Yes more".'

I picked my pint up again and took a sip. I raised my eyebrows to show Ian he should be impressed, but for some reason he still appeared to be waiting for more. That's the problem with the MTV generation. Never satisfied.

'Is that it?' he said. '"Say Yes more"?'

'Yep,' I said, smiling. 'That's it.'

The sentence had tripped off the man on the bus's tongue like he'd been saying it all his life.

'Say Yes more,' he'd said.

'Say Yes more,' I'd repeated. Three little words of such power.

'The people without passion are the ones who always say no,' he'd said, moments before, and I'd turned, stunned, to listen.

'But the happiest people are the ones who understand that good things occur when one allows them to.'

And that was that.

That was all it took to turn my life on its head. A few choice sentences from a complete and utter stranger. A stranger on a bus. And a bearded stranger, at that. This went against everything I held as true. If there was one lesson that had been drummed into me as a kid, it was never listen to a bearded stranger.

I'll be honest; it was a fairly odd moment for me. I felt like the Karate Kid sitting next to Mr Miyage. One minute we'd been idly chatting about this, about that, and about what we'd done with our weeks, and the next, this thin and bearded man had dropped a philosophical bombshell.

I couldn't work out whether it was just coincidence. Whether his words were really intended for me, whether they truly reflected on our conversation, or whether they were just the throwaway ramblings of some bloke on a bus. If I'd been in another mood, I might just have laughed them off, or buried my head in my newspaper, or politely ignored them. But with my friends' concerns, and everything that had happened - or, in a way, everything that hadn't happened - the words took on a strange and important resonance.

Say Yes more.

And that was when I had my revelatory moment.

'That is the stupidest bloody thing I have ever bloody heard,' said Ian, ever the diplomat. 'Some drunk bloke on a bus mutters something oblique and you claim it's changed your life? Bollocks. How come you never listen to me when I'm drunk?'

'Because when you're drunk you usually talk about us buying a caravan and moving to Dorset.'

'Oh, we should, though, just think of the ...'

'And anyway, he wasn't drunk. We'd been talking about what we'd been up to in the week. He seemed very interested.'

'And what did you tell him?'

'I told him I'd been staying in a lot. Not doing much. Having early nights.'

'And that was all?'

'Pretty much.'

And it was. The simple fact of the matter was that this man would probably have had no idea of the impact of his words. I was surely just someone who wanted to make a decision; who deep down wanted to make a change. His words were just the catalyst that kickstarted me into action. I wish I could claim that he was a shaman, or some kind of spiritual figure sent into my life at that time to push me over the edge. And as much as I'd like to believe that, the fact is, he was probably just a bloke on a bus. Just like the next bloke you'll sit next to on a bus. But chatty. And wise.

'He doesn't sound much like Jesus to me,' said Ian. 'Apart from the beard.'

'I never said he was Jesus!'

'Or Buddha, for that matter. Buddha would've probably just smiled a lot. Or taken you to a nice restaurant. That's the thing about Buddha, he knows how to have a good time.'

'Ian, listen. It wasn't Jesus. Or Buddha. It was just some bloke on a bus.'

'So why are you taking him so seriously?'

'Because he was right. And you were right. And Hanne was right. But the thing is, none of you knows how right you were!'

'So what are you saying? Just that you're going to start saying Yes more? That's hardly an announcement.'

'I'm going to say Yes to everything.'

'Everything? What do you mean, everything?'

'I mean, I'm going to say Yes to everything from now on.'

Ian looked shocked.

'When do you start?'

'That's just the thing,' I said, finishing my pint and looking him dead in the eye. 'I already have.'

Found that on the publishing house homepage.

It's an extract, obviously.

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