Literally the best thing on the web at the moment is The Wayback Machine – it’s the best thing on the web because it is the web – frozen at various points through time. Some archaic bits of Tomfoolery and quasi-entertaining snippets of “Across the Web Universe Retro Madness” follow:
Tomfoolery (1): There’s not a lot of my first work left in the archive, but odd snippets surface here and there. For a while before I bought the barbelith.com domain, I had some early personal stuff located on my ISP. The first piece of personal consolidation I did can be seen here, at a site which was called at the time (modestly enough) “Polymath”. There’s no more left of another early site of mine – fin de siecle – than you can see currently here – which is a shame, because the older files were lost when I sold my old computer.
When I bought barbelith – I played with a variety of designs for the front page for a while. I was too busy building The Bomb to spend too much time on the process… There’s not a lot left of this early period on the archive, but you can see fragments of it here.
Wonderfully, the design that everyone liked most for the site over the last few years is preserved almost perfectly – here it is in all it’s purple, orange, red and grey wonder. Odd fragments are missing still. Many people maintain that I’ve never topped this design. Which is slightly depressing.
At a certain point, Barbelith the weblog and Barbelith the community had to part company. And at that point, I bought the domain you’re looking at today. The first major design attempt for the new weblog had taken me weeks to put together, and I was extremely proud of it. I was, it seems, the only one. You can see the full gleaming sparkle of that version of the weblog here.
Plasticbag.org has changed a couple of times more since the blue version went up – over a year ago now, but these were fairly prosaic or failed attempts to do something interesting, and didn’ t last long. The current design for the site was rolled out in its first version sometime around February or March of this year – it’s first incarnation can be seen here. There remains other work of mine around the net – from Slutcore to the logos at a certain ER medical dictionary and a gradually decaying Noah Wyle fan site ( the less said about which the better). But the things I miss most are my very first site at Bristol University – which I can’t find anywhere – and the adapted Russ Meyer poster I used as the template for my first piece of personal online publishing. And perhaps Bristol University’s LGBsoc page – which (if I may say so myself) has never looked as good – before or since.
Across the Web Universe: Fragments of the web that I remember well from years gone by… kottke.org when it looked incredible, One of the very earliest glassdog.com designs (before Lance became the god he is today), Evhead when I first read it and when it looked its finest and the many faces of Derek Powazek.
What’s your Wayback online web history?