Join me
March 21, 2004 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Join Me "It's not a cult - it's a collective"
posted by john_son (13 comments total)
posted by delmoi at 3:40 PM on March 21, 2004

Fucking do-gooders.
posted by Slagman at 3:56 PM on March 21, 2004

What do they do with your passport sized photo?
posted by catfood at 3:57 PM on March 21, 2004

For some reason, while browsing the main page I became obsessed with the "buy Join Me" images at the bottom fo the page. The two on the right are photoshopped, but in what strikes me as a strange way.

The fellow in the photo (Danny Wallace?) is the same, but his shirt color has been changed, the placard has been altered, and a drop-shadow has been added beneath his fingers. Or maybe that's the original version. Who can tell?

Maybe this stuff goes on all the time and I just never notice it. I noticed it this time.
posted by jdroth at 4:09 PM on March 21, 2004

I think this guy has harnessed the same energy that made people camp in line for Star Wars films for weeks. Only for good or something.
posted by weston at 4:21 PM on March 21, 2004

What do they do with your passport sized photo?

seriously, what you look like has nothing to do with your ability to commit official "join me" raok's... maybe he'll be using them in an upcoming book, "all the people who joined me", or something.

jdroth, the "photoshopping" is not at all unusual...
posted by t r a c y at 4:31 PM on March 21, 2004

I think the blue-shirted one with the dropshadow is the origional, it seems more probable. And obviously they would have had to have gone into photoshop to add the background anyway....
posted by delmoi at 4:51 PM on March 21, 2004

Metafilter: "It's not a cult - it's a collective"
posted by namespan at 5:38 PM on March 21, 2004

Reminds me of Third Wave (mentioned previously here). Great idea! Wish I had my own cult. :-(
posted by ao4047 at 6:59 PM on March 21, 2004

Reminds me of a bad movie starring that Haley Joel Osmet kid, or whatever his name is.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 9:11 PM on March 21, 2004

Here is my review of the book (which I wrote a couple of months ago) ...

Danny Wallace, freelance journalist is bored. Having just moved into his own place after a flat share with his friend Dave all he finds himself doing is watching TV, playing games and scratching and it doesn't seem to be getting him anywhere. Then he hear's about an uncle he didn't know who has died. At the funeral he finds out that said Uncle had a plan in his youth to buy some land and talk a hundred people from his village (total population 1000) into living there with him in a collective, working the land and getting back to nature. He managed only three, became the family joke and entered into isolation.

Danny thinks he can do better and wants to commemorate his late uncle in some way. So he puts an classified advert in Loot magazine which simply says 'Join Me' and a note asking for a passport photo to be sent to his home address.

Join Me is a semi-sequel to the fabulous 'Are You Dave Gorman?' which he co-wrote with Dave Gorman. In that book it was Gorman who was the eccentric, the person wanting to find 54 people namesakes; Wallace was the straight man; the one telling Dave to calm down, to stop the madness before it went too far.

It isn't clear how far after the previous book all this happened for it seems pretty close. It's as though Wallace secretly missed the chase he was sidekick to and needed something to fill the hole. In this book it turns out he's possibly even madder; at least Gorman has a perceptible limit to his work. Wallace shoots the ball going and doesn't even goal. But one of the joys of the book is the constant revelations as it proceeds and since I'm going to recommend you buy this at the end of the review I don't want to give too much away.

Part of the charm here is that Wallace admits that he doesn't have the writing ability of other people in the genre and name checks travel writer he thinks would be doing a better job. Ironically he's actually as good as they are. For various reasons he takes a trip to Paris and perfectly captures what it's like around the Eiffel Tower and in the cafes.

As in the Gorman book he also captures the silent majority of people in the UK who are extraordinary for no apparent reason other than they feel like they should be doing something out of the ordinary. It's not anarchy, or non-conformity in the traditional sense. It's that idea that if you want to change the way life is and expected behavior, your only course of action is to have a go. I'd say the recent craze of FlashMobbing and BookCrossing (leaving old books about for other people to pick up and enjoy) are other examples of this.

For me the most interesting aspect of this endeavor is that at no point does the reader feel that all of this happened because of a potential book deal. It was a personal project, something the journalist wanted to do so that he was at least doing something.

But I'm not going to pretend it's a book for everyone. As with the Gorman book there is a built in pointlessness about the story which will not appeal to all. There are a couple of occasions when some readers might wonder about the motives. For the rest of us, those who love the idea that moments of magic like this can happen in the world we're stuck with at present, it's a joy and reinvigorates your belief in people. Here is the bit were I recommend you buy the book. Buy the book.

[I thought this must have been posted already or I would have posted it...]
posted by feelinglistless at 11:00 PM on March 21, 2004

I saw this guy speak, and his event quickly became one of the favorite author readings I've been to. He's charming, the book is funny, and the idea is cool. I haven't bought the book yet, but I will because I like that these sorts of ideas can actually succeed.
posted by jragon at 9:52 AM on March 22, 2004

I bought the book having read Are you Dave Gorman and can honestly say its one of the best books I've read in a long time.
posted by john_son at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2004

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