My only conversation with Sophie

Speech bubble

One of the weird and wonderful consequences of having appeared in Danny Wallace’s book Join Me in 2003 is that every now and then I would get random strangers contacting me, mostly via MSN Messenger.

Yesterday I was searching through old logs of conversations, looking for a conversation I’d had with Steve Lawson a couple of months ago when I stumbled upon this rather sweet conversation I had with a 13 year old Joinee called Sophie.

It’s the one and only conversation that I had with her on Messenger. Probably because her parents discovered that she’d been chatting with a 30-something cult member in the northern and barbaric ice kingdom of Scotland.

22 June 2006 at 19:08

Sophie: Hello
Gareth: Hello
Sophie: Sorry I’ve never talked before. I was on your website and found your email. I’m a Joinee of Danny, by the way.
Gareth: 😀 What’s your name?


Sophie: Sorry about that. My MSN is a bit lethal.
Gareth: I asked “What’s your name?”, but you’d gone!
Sophie: Hehe … eek! Sorry, my name’s Sophie. 🙂
Gareth: Hello Sophie. My name is Gareth, but I guess you know that. 😀
Sophie: Yep I do 😀 You’re in Danny Wallace’s book Join Me, in case you didn’t know 🙂 and you like Metallica.
Gareth: As I happens I am, and I do. And I’m listening to Metallica right now: Metallica – Last Caress – 2006/06/03 Nurburgring, GER. That’s amazing! How do you know such things?!
Sophie: Well.. it does take quite a genius to know those facts 😀
Gareth: So, what of you? Where are you on this vast but interesting planet of ours?
Sophie: Um, I live near London. In Buckinghamshire? I am 13 … nearly 14 … um … Danny Wallace is like my hero LOL … erm.. I like skiing and football and odd things, Oh and I say KAPOW! a lot …
Gareth: Cool! There are not enough people who say “KAPOW!” in my view.
Sophie: Definitely! Phew, It’s not just me 🙂 I seem to scare people a lot by saying it but I think of it this way: I’m normal in a world of weird people.
Gareth: Are you related to Batman, by any chance? I mean, I won’t be disappointed if you are not.
Sophie: Yes! He’s my brother.
Gareth: Oh. Cool!
Sophie: Yep!!
Gareth: Cool and the cool, as my friend Rory would say.
Sophie: What a lovely phrase.

Pause for a couple of minutes

Gareth: Sorry, I nipped downstairs.
Sophie: No problem.
Gareth: I got a letter today from a company telling me to remove people’s comments on one of my blog posts or they’d take me to court.
Sophie: :S
Gareth: Which was quite exciting. So now — having removed them — I am now writing them a letter. I’d popped down to run it past Jane.
Sophie: How come? Eek! Good luck with writing them a letter 🙂 What was the problem with the comments?
Gareth: They were libellous.
Sophie: :S

And that was it. Imagine if we kept a written record of every single conversation — trivial and important — that we’d ever had. I wonder if it would make for as good reading as my conversation with Sophie that summer’s evening two years ago.



Today I got the following email message from a viewer:


Can you please confirm something for me. I have recently finished reading ‘Join me’ by the legend that is Mr. Wallace, after reading it I mentioned to a work colleague that I myself was going to start doing random acts of kindness each and every Friday, her reply to this was a negative one, and she insisted that Danny himself would no longer act in this way as it has been a long time since he wrote the book. I defended Danny in every way I could and told her I was going to e mail him to confirm he is indeed still ‘the leader’.

That evening I went onto the join me web site and clicked on the contact link, I sent an email explaining what had happened and asked for confirmation that random acts of kindness were still being carried out each and every Friday, and when I had received this confirmation I would then send my passport photo off to become a joinee.

This was over two weeks ago, and I very sadly have to announce that I have received no reply from the email, therefore I write to you in the hope that you can confirm to me that the karma army is still going strong and that Mr. Danny Wallace is alive and well and still doing his bit as the leader.


I had an answer for him. Oh yes indeed.

Dear Rich (or Richard),

Thank you for contacting us regarding our premium Join Me Validation Service.

Our records show that your trial membership for the premium service has recently expired. However, you will see from the terms and conditions that since you have raised a support call with 30 days of your trial membership expiring you still qualify for the enhanced standard service. My word, aren’t you a lucky man!

I can answer your question in just one word: hemispheres.

Of course, as an answer to your particular questions it’s utterly meaningless, and for that I can only apologise.


p.s. Yes. Join Me is still going. People, kind people like you and me, are still doing random acts of kindness. Sometimes on a Friday. Other times at … well, other times. Not everyone synchronizes their watches with the time signal from Rugby as do you and I. Tut.

I’m sorry that King Danny of Lovely was unable to reply to your email. I suppose he was probably eating crisps at the time or something.

I think that about answers it.


I was obviously in a weird mood when I wrote that yesterday.

Do you need my friend Gaz’s services?

Close-up photograph of coffee beans.

As some of you will already know, I have some friends. One of them, also called Gareth (although he usually goes by the name of Gaz) also appeared in a book that I’m in. What are the chances of that?!

Anyway, Gaz sent me an email today, that I thought would be better sharing with all you lovely people out there in Internet Land.

As some of you will already know, last month I got a new job. Hooray! But as some of you also know, it turned out to be absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. Boo!

As a result, I chose to call it a day there and then rather than struggle on indefinitely doing something I neither liked nor wanted to learn in a situation I was extremely uncomfortable with.

But, enough moaning! That’s not why I’m emailing you!

I’ve decided that as I couldn’t find the right job for me, I’d make the right job instead. Therefore I have now set myself up as a freelance copyeditor / writer / proofreader / web designer, and am just doing what all freelancers probably do to start off with – tap their mates for work!

I’ve been in touch with some of you already, but I now have my official details sorted out, so thought I’d pass them on in the hope that in turn if you hear of anything, you can pass them on. My work email address is:

And my website can be found here:

On there are details of my experience, more contact details, and services I can offer. I’m happy to tackle pretty much anything from basic document and content editing to writing commisioned articles, so if you do hear of anything or have any leads then I’d be really grateful if you could let me know.

So there you have it, from Gaz himself. Via my blog. Who knows, maybe someone out there is thinking right now, “If only I knew of a freelance writer in Edinburgh…”

Stranger things have happened. Like the time that I sent out an email in May 2003 to my friend Geoff saying hello and we’ve moved to Edinburgh … just at the same time that Geoff was sitting at his PC thinking “I wish I knew just one more contact in Edinburgh, then I could accommodate the Russian choir that I’m touring round the UK”.