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Danny Wallace is a Man

I sit by the window, staring into space, when the silence of the room is disturbed by a single, loud “Ding!”.

An email.

Someone is thinking of me!

I fumble for my phone, unlock it, and see…


Oh. It’s an upbeat email from Wowcher.

It’s offering me a 47 per cent discount on a two-piece pasta cookbook bundle.

I scroll down. There’s also an over-the-door shoe rack, six tins of lip balm, an online life-coaching course, a deal on a dozen prophylactics and a turquoise faux-leather clutch.

I click it away. I don’t actually remember signing up to this list. And yet every few days, for who knows how long, my heart has risen for a moment as I heard the ‘ding’ of an email, only for it to sink again as I realise it’s just about discounted multipacks of energy drinks or anti-theft travel backpacks or two-piece pasta cookbook bundles.

By the way, I sort of think there should be more than two things in a bundle. It’s not like someone would look at me and think, “That dude’s got a real two-piece bundle of eyes. And check out that bundle of ears!”

Anyway. Until the next time, Wowcher.

But five minutes later, my phone dings again. Well, it can’t be from Wowcher this time! I grab it, heart rising, then sinking just as quickly once more.

It’s an email from the team at Secret Escapes telling me that I should really book now if I want any chance of a dreamy trip to the Caribbean, an idyllic Cotswolds weekend or an upscale Iceland break with a northern lights tour.

Yeah? Well, I can’t just have a dreamy trip to the Caribbean, team at Secret Escapes, can I? I have two kids! Deadlines! A mortgage! Why exactly does the team at Secret Escapes think it’s all right to email me pictures of dreamy trips to the Caribbean? Did I ask them to do that? Again, I have no memory of ever signing up to this list. But now I’m on it, what can I do? I’m destined to just get these things forever and ever and…

…then I see it.


That single word, in a tiny font, just there at the bottom of the email, trying not to draw attention to itself, trying just to keep out of trouble, but offering me a
chance… It’s true. I could just unsubscribe. But it always seems like a bit of a hassle. And what if I miss a deal?

My finger hovers over the word. And then… I click it. And just like that, I am unsubscribed.

I feel a strange sense of relief.

I didn’t have to get those emails. Those emails that offer nothing but offers. What’s more – I don’t have to get any of them!

I go back to Wowcher. I make sure I really don’t want that turquoise faux-leather clutch, and then I unsubscribe from that, too.

I feel empowered, so I go through my inbox.

Hailo. I don’t care if the past year has seen you reach some incredible milestones. Unsubscribe!

Joie de Vivre Hotels. I am never going to visit the Galleria Park Hotel in San Francisco, and your email recommending it on the off-chance seems like quite a desperate shot in the dark. Unsubscribe!

Ticketline. I have no interest in seeing Clannad!

Yelp. I’m not even sure what you are.

Groupon? Group off!

For a few minutes, I become crazed, delighted, revelling in this slaughter of the innocents. I laugh as they fall before me, their subject lines so full of bright marketing hopes about to be dashed, of exclamation marks and quirky questions about to be binned.

Pinterest. Regus Desk And Workspace Hire. Lola’s Cupcakes. Begone!

VoucherCodes! eBay! Deliverance! Never darken my door again!

But all we want is to offer you the latest deals and discounts, Danny! I can hear them crying, but no! There will be no mercy! The last of you will fall this day! I mean, Big Yellow Storage – why are you even sending out emails, anyway? I’m not going to do your survey. I will NEVER do your survey. Has ANYONE ever done your survey? The people of Britain have NOTHING TO SAY about big empty rooms available for monthly hire.

More and more I purge, delisting, resisting, unsubscribing, cleansing – and with each click I feel lighter, brighter, like my world has less noise, like there is less interference in the air. Like I have peace. Like I have silence. Like I have serenity.

I sit, by the window, and breathe a little easier.

After a few moments, I glance at my phone.

Nothing happens.

I am hit by the crushing reality of being alone in the universe.

Here to help

Danny 1

Ralph Davis was in Sainsbury’s in Maypole, where they’re getting ready to field a ton of questions about how many turkeys, jams and chutneys they’ll be stocking for Christmas. Meaning they’ve had to set up a special system just to cope. I don’t know how this is going to work, though.

Catchy names are overrated, probably


"To summarise, our Airwaves chewing gum is doing extremely well right the
way around the world…"

"Yes. But what are we going to call it for the German market?"

"Leave it with me."