Nineties Web Nostalgia

Personal

Back in the mid to late 90’s most of the information you could find about your favorite bands was spread across many sites made by fans. Very few bands had official websites and Wikipedia didn’t exist. So we all just stole content from each other and created our own sites with 95% identical content presented slightly differently. 1I loved how each site had slightly different versions of lyrics.2I chose a random footnote plugin and I like this a lot, but I’m not sure if it’s accessible. I’ll hop on my wife’s mac later to see if VoiceOver can see them. :(

I created probably half a dozen Nirvana fan sites with all the usual accoutrements and was part of a community that would help each other learn how to make websites with patience and enthusiasm. I still remember before that community when I couldn’t figure out how to make my first Geocities site show up and some dude in the chat pulled a “duh, you have to name the front page index.html.” How was I suppose to know that!?

We’d discuss all the nerdy musical stuff we loved and had web-rings, ICQ chat events, banner sharing, and even various review sites where we cared about load times and browser compatibility! 3It’s taking all my strength to not go off for many paragraphs about Chrome/Google bringing that sad era back to life after general compatibility was finally actually not terrible for a few years.

All my copies of these sites died along with old family computers; I never would have thought mid-life me would feel nostalgic for the good ol’ Internet days and want to see them. The Internet Archive snapshotted my last iteration though, and I salvaged a little HTML from there to recreate it.

Captain America: The Original Nirvana Page
(I recommend using a desktop browser and not a phone… :)

This was my attempt to create a site that had all original content instead of the same copies as all the other sites. I mostly failed at doing that, but it was a nice thought. :) I saw some random pictures of Kurt Cobain wearing another band’s t-shirt and just went with it as the theme because who else would name their fan site after a different band?4Nobody, that’s who.

I don’t know what the current landscape of fan sites is, but I’m guessing it’s mostly Facebook groups or something. Most of the fact-sharing pages we had are unnecessary now since there are many better-maintained alternatives. I updated all the pages with links to the relevant Wikipedia articles, haha.

Most of the site wasn’t archived so I had to recreate a lot of it. I tried to not change too much so it’s still not responsive and probably not very accessible either. I couldn’t help replacing font tags and other things we don’t use anymore with more modern HTML/CSS. None of the images survived, so I had to redo the navigation since it used some old-school javascript image swapping when you moused over each item.

I even tried to recreate the terrible glowing-text headers I was fond of at the time:

Glowing text is much easier now with CSS than it was with pirated photoshop plugins!

The funniest thing, other than the terrible HTML, is all my old updates. For example, I use to be much more fond of exclamation points than I am now!!!! So embarrassing. ;) I also seemed to use those updates kind of like twitter: short, sweet, and mostly pointless. No wonder I took to twitter so quickly!!

I really wish the song pictures I had survived. Those were hilarious. I took random lyrics and tried to make pictures that represented them. Like one was about being trapped in a jar in a laundry room and I photoshopped my friend into a small jar in my laundry room. Classic.

Even though it’s sad the old pictures are gone, my kids helped me make some amazing new ones to replace them so we get some new greatness to enjoy:

A lego man selling a globe to a few villinous looking lego characters.
The Man Who Sold The World

I hope your quarantine projects are as pointless and fun as mine! :)

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