In the latest of an occasional series, Graham Bandage talks to internet pioneer Daniel Singh.
GRAHAM BANDAGE: Daniel Singh, you’ve been responsible for many internet innovations, including the acronym LULZ and the emoticon :}) (Terry-Thomas). But your greatest innovation has changed the English language itself.
DANIEL SINGH: You’re not wrong there.
GB: No. For you are the man who made the word ‘fail’ into a noun.
DS: Yes, I’m very proud of that one.
GB: What gave you the idea? Was it a texting thing? Something to do with the word ‘failure’ taking too long to write?
DS: Nothing so pathetic. It is the culmination of a crusade. REVENGE! I will crush…
GB: Steady on.
DS: Sorry, it’s just that feelings run deep. I’ll calm down.
INTERVIEW SUSPENDED WHILE DS HAS SOME CAMOMILE TEA AND A BIT OF A LIE DOWN.
DS: You’ve got to appreciate what it was like to be me, growing up in the 1980s. The scars on my back.
GB: Oh, I know. I had a pair of Black Watch trousers as well.
DS: You know nothing. Every bloody time people mentioned my name, somebody would start singing “Dan Singh With Tears In My Eyes.”
GB: Oh, you poor soul.
DS: I swore revenge on Ultravox. I bought 750,000 copies of Joe Dolce’s Shaddup Your Face just to stop them getting to number one with Vienna.
GB: I wondered who bought that record.
DS: I thought that would be the end of them. But then their bastard lead singer helps Bob Geldof write Do They Know It’s Christmas? and he becomes a bloody saint.
DS: And when the internet appeared, and people were writing “Failure” all the time it was a slap in the face. “Fail. Ure. Fail. Ure.” I decided then I would wipe his name from the face of the earth. I wrote a post on the forum xhtmlismuchbetterthanconventionalhtml.com. Somebody had written a previous post which misspelled XHTML as ‘XHMTL.’ I pointed out this error and signed off with “EPIC FAIL. LULZ.”
GB: And it went viral?
DS: And it went viral, just as I planned. Now the occurrence of the character sequence URE is down 94% on the year 2000. Before long the name Ure will be as forgotten as a male X-Factor winner in February and I will be VICTORIOUS!
GB: Erm, that’s all ace and that, but what about the name ‘Midge?’
DS: Do you think I haven’t thought of that? I’ve chucked a bung the way of the Scottish Animal Naming Board, and from 2012, midges are to be known as Ultravoxisshits. I’ve also bought the rights to Worzel Gummidge, or “Worzel Gum” as he will now be known. And I’ve rebranded midgets as “ts.” I’ve left no stone unturned. I WILL HAVE REVENGE!!!
GB: Daniel Singh, thank you very much.