The Internet is many things to many people, more and less savoury. For some, it's an inexpensive and convenient way to communicate (potentially asynchronously) with distant relatives; for others it's a mechanism for self-publication of unpopular prose. Legend has it that it serves as an effectively unlimited supply of pornography for many (which is—slightly weirdly—a fact to which one may refer humorously in polite company but about which specifics may not be spoken aloud). It also provides a medium through which wide ranges of products and services can cheaply and effectively be promoted to niche markets.

And then there are the rickety shacks on the Internet's side streets (in the shadowy forms of forums, 4chan and IRC) wherein the full might of this glorious mechanism for instantaneous information intercourse interchange is applied to the distribution of rapid successions of pictures of entertaining animals with ridiculous captions (and, optionally, atrocious looped music or samples). This is the realm that gave us lolcats, Badgers, YTMND and their motley crew. Strange and inexplicable as these creations are to the uninitiated, they often turn out to be remarkably funny. (I guess repetition is an effective source of humour!)

The Llama Song falls into this latter category. Take a sequence of pictures of llamas; throw in some pictures of a cheesecake, a brick, a treehouse, a whole bunch of ducks and a (even more) incongruous snap of a doubly eye-patched individual in a car; sequence an inane melody over a double-time beat; scrape together some nonsense lyrics loosely describing the pictures. Lo! your masterpiece is ready for publication. Stick it on a website somewhere, and wait for it to by syndicated (without attribution, naturally) and promoted virally (as the buzzword goes) to the whole entire internet. You stand to gain nothing more than the dubious and inevitable satisfaction of overhearing teenagers in the street enthusing about your anonymous handiwork. (I guess repetition really is an effective source of humour!)

half a llama / twice the llama / not a llama / farmer / llama / llama in a car / alarm a llama / llama / duck

A year or so ago, I spent a summer on an internship programme at IBM Hursley. A few days in, my fellow interns and I were given a presentation by one Andy Stanford-Clark, a Master Inventor (read senior researcher), who was discussing lightweight inter-device message-passing systems when his mobile rang. To my caffeinated glee, it sprang to life with the unmistakable tinny sound of the Llama Song, and I (alone, for my cow-orkers were apparently unfamiliar with this corner of the Web) made appropriate excited noises and gestures. Andy was delighted that someone recognised it, because it gave him an opening to play it on the projector, and to reveal that he is, in fact, a real actual llama farmer, and his wife runs a llama trekking business. This tied neatly back into his talk: he turns out to have attached GPSs and GSM devices to bags around the llamas' necks, constantly reporting their positions back to a live map running on his server. So, you see, short-attention-span internet memes even have their uses in the serious world of the enterprise! (It is apparent that this PowerPoint chart proves that repetition is a synergistic repository for B2B entertainment technology...)


I believe that http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/183859 is the original source of this video, but it's pretty tough to prove.

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