Don’t Believe The Hype, The Future is Super.


I’m so glad “super” has come back as a prefix. Recently I’ve heard of things being described as; super-fast, super-quiet and super sleek. People are being described as super-organised, super-intelligent, and confusingly, super-normal.

I grew up in the 70s when everything was super. We had superstars, supermarkets and Hong Kong Phooey was the “number one super guy”. When Liverpool needed a goal to go through in the second leg of the European Cup quarter final against St Etienne in 1977, Bob Paisley sent David Fairclough on for the last 20 minutes of the game. With six minutes left on the clock, Fairclough ran on to a long ball upfield and held off two St Etienne defenders. He prodded the ball home and ITV commentator Gerald Sinstadt famously bellowed: “Supersub strikes again!”

I can only remember one time in the 70s when the super prefix was challenged. In 1978, Asda opened what they called a “hypermarket” in Widnes. They threw everything at the launch. I remember going there with my parents not long after it first opened and not only did they have a Formula One racing car on display but there was a special appearance by the host of Opportunity Knocks, Huey Green. I never did work out the connection. In the end “hyper” didn’t manage to replace “super” in Widnes, today that same shop is called the Asda “Superstore”.

In the 80s “mega” tried to replace super. There were mega-stars, mega-stores and megatonnes but super fought back with super-tankers, super-models, and superconductors. In the 90s “ultra” made a bid for prefix supremacy but only ‘ultrasound’ caught on. The most recent challenger to super’s dominance came from Continental Europe. In the early 2000s, the German word “uber” started being put in front of adjectives and nouns. Uber’s attack on super ended abruptly on April 27, 2005. An entire continent turned it’s back on uber with the first flight of the European built Airbus A380. It was dubbed the “super-jumbo”.

Super remains the king of all prefixes. Long may it reign and never be superseded.

Craic on!

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