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Silverchair Fan Wins Web Award

Silverchair Fan Wins Web Award

What: Llama Appreciation Society Website
Author: Anthony Scully

A BHP employee who will be retrenched at the end of September when steel making ends in Newcastle has won a national award for his SILVERCHAIR music fan site.

DUANE DOWSE, the designer of the LLAMA APPRECIATION SOCIETY web site, won the award in a popular vote through the inaugural AUSTRALIAN ONLINE MUSIC AWARDS announced in Sydney at the weekend.

Dowse, 33, of Rankin Park, a supervisor at BHP, intends to branch out into web design as a full-time occupation. He made the choice two years ago at the time that BHP's closure was announced.

Since then he has designed and maintained the site in his own time for the past three years while studying information technology part-time at the Hunter Institute of TAFE.

'It's been very tough but it's paid off,' he said.

Dowse moved to Newcastle from Taree when he 16 years old and will have worked at the steel works for 18 years at the end of next month.

He first became involved with members of the internationally successful Newcastle rock super group as a fan. His site won Best Australian Made Music Fan Site category at the ONYA AWARDS. To mark the award he received a statuette in the shape of a hand in the thumbs-up position, holding a computer mouse 'track ball'.

The statuette is a three-dimensional version of the logo used to promote the awards through music industry resource company IMMEDIA PTY LTD (immedia.com.au) which organises the awards and publishes the AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY DIRECTORY. The Newcastle-based LAS site is linked to the silverchair's official web site at www.chairpage.com, maintained by a New York-based music fan and web designer PETER WALTON who is now employed by the band's record label to maintain the main site.

www.chairpage.com won the category of Best Australian Artist Web Site at Saturday's ONYA AWARDS held at the ABC Radio Centre in Ultimo, the culmination of a two-day conference held last week to discuss, among other things, the implications of internet technology on the music business.

The LAS site now contains e-commerce functions which allows users to join the fanclub with a credit card payment of $10 a year, and also to purchase merchandise over the Internet.

'The group wanted to call (the fan club) the Llama Appreciation Society, rather than the silverchair Fan Club, because that would have made them out to be extraordinary, rather than ordinary which is how they prefer to be perceived,' he said.

At last count the fan club had 7000 members from all over Australia, the United States and Europe 'but that's jumping rapidly with the e-commerce aspects, now people can join by credit card'.

'The main function of the site is to supply members of the fan club with something unique and exclusive,' he said.TE

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