David Thorne (writer)
23 February 1972 |
Geraldton, Western Australia
|Occupation||Writer, design director|
David Thorne (born 23 February 1972) is an Australian humourist, satirist, and Internet personality. His work has been featured on the BBC, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Thorne gained public recognition in late 2008 for an email exchange in which he attempts to pay an overdue bill with a drawing of a seven-legged spider. The exchange spread virally via email and social networking sites, leading to a surge of visitors to his website 27b/6 (27bslash6). 27b/6 features a collection of humorous emails and articles from Thorne's life. These and additional essays appear in Thorne's book, The Internet is a Playground. Published by Penguin Group and released on 28 April 2011, the book debuted at number four on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Thorne says that he has been a long-time fan of satirists such as Ross Amorelli, Mil Millington, Chris Lilley and Shaun Micallef, stating that they have all been a "constant source of amusement over the last few years". Much of Thorne's humour is autobiographical, often concerning his immediate family and work associates.
The name of Thorne's website (27bslash6) is a reference to the fact that George Orwell lived in Apartment 27b on level 6 while writing the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The phrase "27B stroke 6" is also used by Terry Gilliam in his movie Brazil. Thorne states that he was unable to secure the word stroke and instead chose the word slash. The website went from receiving a hundred hits a week from a small and consistent group of people to gaining a larger mainstream audience – a few thousand hits a day – when the article I Wish I Had a Monkey was listed on the Bored At Work website. Following the spider drawing page being posted on Digg, the 27bslash6 server crashed after taking over half a million hits in a 24-hour period before being moved to a dedicated server. The second server crashed following Thorne's next article, "Party in Apartment 3", in which Thorne repeatedly RSVPs for a party he has not been invited to, before the site was moved to a third server in the US and has since continued to receive a large volume of traffic.
The spider drawing itself became so popular that it was auctioned on eBay, where a user posted a high bid of US$10,000, but subsequently said he had no intention of paying. When asked how he felt about the refusal of the buyer to pay, Thorne stated, "The internet is a playground and I would not have it any other way." The spider email has also been featured on several television and radio programs, including BBC's Have I Got News for You in the UK and the Late Show with David Letterman in the United States. The news article regarding the spider email was voted most popular news story of 2008 in Australia, where it received five times the views of any other article for the year.
Thorne has also had international success with many of his other articles from the 27bslash6 website such as "Missing Missy", a series of correspondences between Thorne and a secretary who requires a missing poster designed for her lost cat, "Strata Agreement", and "Party in Apartment 3", which became so popular that it was read out during a prime time broadcast on BBC Radio in the United Kingdom and reprinted in more than 300 newspapers worldwide. Thorne's article regarding a former client contacting him for pro-bono work titled "Simon's Pie Charts" (November 2009) became such a viral hit due to being passed on by email and social networking sites that it has been described as one of the most passed on viral emails of all time and has been mentioned on Twitter by many celebrities, read out on radio throughout the UK, United States, and Germany, and featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Australia's The 7PM Project and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
On 3 March 2010, the website was taken offline for several hours and any attempt to access it was directed to a page stating the account had been suspended. Thorne had published an article a few days earlier detailing an email exchange with an officer from South Australia's E-Crime unit regarding an earlier article in which Thorne wrote of purchasing drugs to sell at a profit. Following the correspondence with the officer, Thorne replaced the word drugs with cats in the original article to avoid the threat of having the website shut down.
The Internet is a Playground
Thorne's first book, a collection of articles from the website titled The Internet is a Playground, sold almost 8,000 copies in its first month of release. The book was initially picked up and released by a small Australian publisher named Fontaine Press. Disputes between Thorne and Fontaine Press regarding delivery and non-payment of author royalties caused Thorne to end his relationship with them a few months later. In 2011, the rights to publish the book, along with approximately 160 pages of new content, were purchased by Penguin Group US. Released on 28 April 2011, Penguin renamed the book The Internet is a Playground, Irreverent Correspondences of an Evil Online Genius and the book debuted at number four on The New York Times Best Seller list the following week.
I'll Go Home Then, It's Warm and Has Chairs
Thorne's second release, a collection of both unpublished articles and ones from the website titled I'll Go Home Then, It's Warm and Has Chairs, sold over double the copies of his first book in its first month of release. The cover of its first edition featured a drawing of a Penguin giving the finger, leading to Penguin Group claiming trademark infringement and demanding the cover be changed. The cover was eventually changed to feature a cat dressed as an astronaut, holding a snowboard after a sarcastic negotiation with Penguin Group, which was published on the 27bslash6 website.
Kate's Birthday Party
On 25 April 2010, David Thorne created a Facebook event titled "Kate's Birthday Party". The hoax event, a birthday party for an Adelaide woman named Kate, was supposedly accidentally left open to public security settings, allowing anyone to RSVP. Following several links being posted on the image board 4chan and Reddit, the event amassed more than 60,000 attendees. Several blogs picked up on the event as an example of security flaws within Facebook. Thorne created an "I Attended Kate's Party" T-Shirt and began selling it on his online store, whilst numerous Facebook groups were spawned in reference to the event. The event, originally scheduled for Saturday, 1 May at 8:00 pm, was eventually taken down by Facebook.
- The Internet is a Playground, A collection of articles and more from 27bslash6.com (2011) Published by Tarcher / Penguin Group.
- I'll Go Home Then, It's Warm and Has Chairs, A second collection of articles containing some new, previously unpublished material.
- David Thorne. "The Internet is a Playground". Penguin Publishing. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
- Youtube. "Seven Legged Spider featured on BBC's Have I Got News For You".
- Youtube. "Blogworld 2012 interview with David Thorne".
- ninemsn staff. "Man tries to pay bill with spider drawing". News.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Herald Sun. "David Thorne, man behind spider email".
- Schuessler, Jennifer (10 May 2011). "The New York Times Bestseller List". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "David Thorne and the mysterious spider drawing email". 19 November 2008.
- David Thorne. "I wish I had a monkey". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- "Bored At Work". Bored At Work. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Digg. "I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing". Digg.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Editor, Deputy. "The real Spiderman: part two of our interview with David Thorne - Marketing Magazine". Marketingmag.com.au. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- David Thorne. "Matthew's non theme based fancy dress party". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Matt Bachl, ninemsn (14 November 2008). "Spider minus a leg sells for thousands". News.ninemsn.com.au. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Matt Bachl, ninemsn (13 September 2009). "'Spider man' refuses to pay for drawing". News.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Hamish & Andy (17 November 2008). "The best of Monday 17th November" (Podcast).
- 7 Legged Spider featured on BBC's Have I Got News For You on YouTube
- Sean Cusick, ninemsn (9 December 2008). "Ninemsn readers Flock to crazy spiders". News.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- David Thorne. "Missing Missy". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- David Thorne. "The ducks in the bathroom are not mine". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- "CANOE - CNEWS - The Talker: Meet the king of e-mail sarcasm". Cnews.canoe.ca. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Masters, Dave (12 June 2009). "'Spider' email joker is back | David Thorne spider email prankster returns | David Thorne winds-up gym boss and landlord | | The Sun |Features". London: The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- "Unofficialmills.co.uk". Unofficialmills.co.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Moore, Matthew (5 January 2009). "'Ninja' party email exchange becomes web hit". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- David Thorne. "It's like twitter. Except we charge people to use it.". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Moore, Matthew (14 December 2009). "'Design me a logo for free'". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Please design a logo for me. With pie charts. For free. : funny". Reddit.com. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- David Thorne. "Protecting the community from burglars, murderers and blogs". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- David Thorne (15 March 2010). "Exciting Investment Opportunity". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- David Thorne (13 December 2010). "SA Police. Protecting the community from burglars, murderers and blogs.". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- "Interview with David Thorne, Author of The Internet is a Playground". Scott Butki (Newsvine.com). 10 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- David Thorne. "I'll Go Home Then; It's Warm and Has Chairs". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "David Thorne Earned More With Self-Pub Book Than Traditional Publication". Dianna Dilworth (mediabistro.com). 31 May 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- David Thorne. "There are any number of alternatives to Antarctica such as skiing or being in space.". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- David Thorne. "We are angryface and would like you to use a picture of a cat or something instead of a penguin.". 27bslash6.com. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "70,000 friends snub Facebook Kate's Birthday party". AdelaideNow (News.com.au). 2 May 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Moses, Asher (27 April 2010). "Kate's Party gatecrashed by 60,000 Facebook users". Fairfax Digital (The Sydney Morning Herald). Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Ramadge, Andrew (27 April 2010). "Kate's Party hoax takes aim at Facebook privacy". News.com.au. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Kate's Party: Or, How 60,000 Trolls Facebook-Crashed a Random Party in Australia". Geekosystem. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Moses, Asher (27 April 2010). "Kate's Party gatecrashed by 60,000 Facebook users". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- David Thorne. "The Internet is a Playground by David Thorne 27b/6". Penguin. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- David Thorne. "I'll Go Home Then, It's Warm and Has Chairs. The Unpublished Emails. by David Thorne 27b/6". Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- "David Thorne: The Haters Make Him Stronger". Pop Magazine. 25 June 2010.
- "Washington Post Interview". Washington Post. 25 June 2010.
- "Humorist's Spider Crawls The Web, Bringing Fame And A Book Deal". NPR. 23 May 2011.