Shovel is Ben Ward, a former BarrysWorld member who migrated to FreddysHouse after Game.Net broke down. He join the BarrysWorld WebBoard in 1998, aged 14. He got internet access for Christmas that year and Barrys was the first website he ever visited, having read about it in PC Gaming World magazine.
Shovel originally signed up with the username ‘Barry Shovel’, having stolen it from a Year 9 English drama sketch. He didn't even think of it himself, but needed a Quake 2 alias and figured no-one would ever find out (they did).
Like most pubescent members, Shovel spammed a lot, learned to make irritating animating signature images in Jasc Animation Shop and once – on a board of geeks and techies – referred to IT consultants as ‘really overpaid’ (or words to that effect). Thankfully the WebBoard had a delete post command and despite Meatballs threat to dig it out of a cache, he survived and went on to grow up and get a clue.
He played Quake 2 over his 33.6k modem over the BarrysWorld Dialup because he tried to run Classic Quake and the mouse lagged. Shovel joined Clan Grey Area in 1999, playing Quake 2 very, very badly. In 2000 he and other GA members ran the Q2BattleUK League for one season and about this time he trimmed his alias to just ‘Shovel’, existing on the then BarrysWorld UBB Forum as GA-Shovel.
More recently, Shovel posts less frequently but keeps regular check on the WebDev Forum where, contrary to occasional belief, he isn't a moderator.
Shovel studied Computation at the University of Manchester and graduated with a 2:1 in 2006. Currently he lives in Birmingham, UK and works freelance as a Web Application Developer for a start-up called Yobject; specialising in .NET, Web Standards, Microformats and all kinds of other nerdy webby tech.