Venerable Researchers: DaSilva

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A chatty budgerigar with a book called 'How to Speak to Humans'.

Venerable Researchers

When I was first envisioning these interviews, I'd thought of having little introductions to each interviewee as they came on, sort of a talk show. Not everyone1 gave me material, but this week's interviewee did. I'll let him introduce himself.

h2g2 name: daSilva (I’ve been “daSilva” since I started on internet social networks in September ’92, however since the massive rise in popularity around the time of h2g2’s move to the BBC I tend to be daSilva_UK now as someone’s usually beaten me to it by the time I get there)
My Twitter bio says my real world self “Studied physics, graduated computing, 12 years as a graphic artist, now in financial services. I wanted to be a naval architect damnit!” which is all true. It roughly applies to my on-line alter ego too.

Oh, and if anyone has a better suggestion for a title2, I certainly wouldn't mind.

Sorry, no – after being a creative for 12 years I now work in finance and all semblance of an imagination has been drained from me.

So, on to the questions.

Ooh, goody!

When did you join h2g2?

A few weeks after it started – I missed the initial push, with newspaper articles and Douglas appearing on Tomorrow’s World (a weekly UK popular science TV show of the time, now sadly defunked3)

According to your Unumber, you joined around midSeptember 1999.

How did you hear of/find h2g2?

My mum read/heard about it in the paper or the radio and knowing I’m a big Hitchhikers’ fan told me about it but couldn’t remember details – had to hit the search engines to find it.

Why did you join h2g2?

I’m a massive Hitchhikers’ fan and wanted to chat with like minded folk, maybe even Douglas himself.
I came SECOND in a Hitchhiker’s/DNA pub quiz at the inaugural Birmingham meet-up so I could score 42. I ended up with the first prize anyway as the winner, Pastey, already had the tee shirt and wanted the mouse mat.

Did you jump right in, or did you lurk awhile first?

I seem to have lurked a bit – the first recorded post I could find was in the September after it all started so I was probably lurking for at least a month.

It looks like you lurked awhile before actually joining then. Maybe you joined to post for the first time?

Have you written an Edited Entry?

Not edited ones, no.

CollaborativeEntriescount, too, y'know.

How many?

I refer the honourable Paper Lady to my previous answer.

What was your first Entry?

About alcohol, believe it or not.

What is your favorite Entry (of the ones you've written, if any)?

No edited entries.

What is your favorite Entry by someone else?

A Girl Called Ben’s entry using the existence of mayonnaise as proof of the existence of time travel.

Do you belong to/have you started any clubs/societies/what-have-you on h2g2?

Probably too many to mention and as always with HooToo, never quite an instigator but often in the second/third circles of people (as with h2g2 itself).

Is that/are those club(s)/society(ies)/what-have-you(s) still active?

I have no idea (I’m seldom on nowadays but not totally Elvised).

Have you held any volunteer positions in the past?

I tried to become a community artist at one point as that was my day job anyway but it didn’t happen in the end, although I had done a couple of bespoke pieces for researchers. I seem to recall a 3D model of a psychiatrist’s couch for Pegasus.

Are you a current volunteer?


Which Elvised researcher do you miss most?

Too many to name. The dynamic of the site changed several times, not just with the moves about but in parallel with general changes in the way and who use the internet in general.

There are some Researchers who are no longer with us – U42 and honorary researcher Peter Jones to name but two.

Have you been an Elvised researcher?

Semi. I’ve never totally thrown my toys out of the pram and ‘left’ but I’ve been quiet now with hardly any log-ins, let alone posts for years. I did what I needed to do when we escaped the BBC (and I am so proud of everyone involved, particularly Zed, A Girl Called Ben and Pastey). Never a totally closed door.

What brought you back?

Occasional bouts of curiosity, keeping the account going in the transition, leaving tributes to lost researchers.

Have you been known by other names on h2g2 (not necessarily other accounts)?

Always something involving “daSilva” no matter what prefixes or suffixes I attached to it.

Is there anything from h2g2's past that you miss?

The pioneering spirit of the very early days, the feeling of everyone jumping in with both feet but still finding their way.

And U42, of course.

Is there anything from h2g2's past that you wish you hadn't witnessed?

Some of the flame wars got very, very heavy – to the point of threat against life. And the BBC did nothing. That was one of the final straws for this particular camel’s back.

What aspect of current h2g2 do you wish had been extant when you joined?

I don’t know the new indie site well enough to comment.

Have you been to any meets, of any size, whether "official" or not (meet=over a dozen, minimeet=6-12, micromeet=less than a half dozen)?


How many?

Official and Full-sized: Inaugural Birmingham meet, a further Birmingham one and one in Manchester.

Minimeets: An official nodnoL minimeet as Paper daSilva (sorry, Amy) and a few off the cuff unofficial local ones.

No need to apologise. I was given the idea for the self portrait by Amy the Ant, who told me Mark Moxon had done it when I was whining about not being able to go to a meet.

Micromeets: Countless get togethers in and around Birmingham with the likes of VIP, Z, A Girl Called Ben and the like.

ALSO – went to a Douglas Adams memorial day at what is now known as The National Media Museum in Bradford with Vicky Virago, lil’ ol’ Me and family. There may have been other researchers there but they didn’t make themselves known (counts as a micro-meet, right? We went to the pub after and stayed in a hotel overnight) – had my copy of MJ Simpson’s DNA bio signed “To daSilva”

As far as I'm concerned, any time there's a group of h2g2ers for more than about half an hour, it counts as a meet of some sort, unless the researchers are related, coworkers, classmates, or housemates.

Was my self portrait there?

The Manchester one for sure, not sure about either of the Birmingham ones or the nodnoL minimeet.

How many copies? smiley - silly

One. At the start at least. More may have joined later but alcohol had been consumed by then. So it could have been that talking.

If you've been to multiple meets, what's the farthest you've travelled to one?

Probably the Bradford one as I trained it up to Chester to meet up with the VV clan and we drove to Bradford.

Am I asking too many questions?

Not going to tell you.

Is this getting annoying?

Not going to tell you.

How about now?

Not going to tell you.

Wonder if I should take that for a 'Yes'...

If I were to give you a mufflewhump, what would it turn into, keeping in mind that they can't turn into anything sapient nor anything that can act against the giver's (ie, my) interest, and that they only work on h2g2?

A gyrocopter shaped like a penguin.

Had you even heard of mufflewhumps before the previous question?


Have I given you one before?

I don’t believe so.

Did you know me before this interview?

We’ve interacted on occasion, yes.

Do you have a question for me (fair's fair, after all) (not one answered on my PS)?

Are we nearly there yet?

Yes, we're done!

Thank you, daSilva.

Next time, we'll be hearing from Orcus.

The Venerable Researchers Archive


03.03.14 Front Page

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1Mostly no-one.2No-one did, "Venerable Researchers" was the working titlesmiley - laugh3Yes, I know it's 'defunct' but I happen to like this! After all, it probably was a funky (in a good way) show.

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