In the olden days when the internet was young there rose from its vast sea glittering towers, home to people from far and wide, places where strangers could form communities and friendships. These towers had strange, exotic names like Tripod or Geocities or Angelfire.
Tiled backgrounds and animated graphics were almost mandatory. Marquee text was currency. Lime green Times New Roman text was the status symbol of choice. Mostly.
They weren’t pretty to look at is what I’m saying.
The internet grew up and the towers shut their doors as the people built their own homes elsewhere. Some of them relocated.
But some of the old towers remained. They were boarded up, uncared for, covered in graffiti, and smelled of wee, but they stayed standing, entombing memories of their past within. And it’s still possible to take a look around if you know how. I know how and I’ve just had a wander around old Angelfire for old times’ sake.
It’s an old man with his cock in his hand (snigger). It’s actually from this page on Argentinian combat chickens. And I can finally remove “Argentinian combat chickens” from my list of phrases to publish on the web.
What you’re looking at above – via this page (tiled background ahoy!) – is a screenshot of the VPlaces software running on Excite Talk, the virtual chatroom that I spent an awful lot of time on in the late 1990s. I loved that software. I loved the modified DLLs that you could download that made your avatar twice the size or gave you the ability to empty rooms or enter them even if they were full. I loved that it used the Visual Basic 4 runtime. Ah, memories.
Okay, now this was a surprise because it’s, well, it’s quite good. I know. By Neena Bickram in 1998 this comes from a page titled The Tale of the Parking Meter God. It’s a photo story, it’s not a long read, but it’s well done. Go and read it. And when you’ve done that check out Neena’s Angelfire site more fully. Expect ponies. Expect fantasy.
A fan-made desktop wallpaper of Keira Knightley and there are plenty more if your eyes can stand it on this page. The original image was 800 by 600 pixels in size. Can you imagine a desktop with that resolution now? It’s terrifying isn’t it.
Parties were better in the days of Angelfire as this picture demonstrates. More party pictures from Paul “Gumby” Trusten are here in case you want to live the hedonism of alcohol and vest-wearing vicariously through them.
A superheroine in bondage? Oh my! Yes, it’s artwork of Lady Ultra in a trap. And if you’re wondering who Lady Ultra is, who drew her, and whether any other artists have possibly drawn her too (spoiler: they have!) then check out the Angelfire site here.
It’s a small picture because this isn’t about the picture. Here, read this:
One afternoon in June 1980, while on holiday in Egypt, I entered the Kings Chamber of the Pyramid of Giza in Cairo and had an overwhelming deja vu. I thought, ‘I’ve been in here before and furthermore I’m still in here now– as an Atlantean scientist!’ Then the scene changed and this world was overridden for some seconds and interspersed with another one where I was standing as my present self, inside the chamber and surrounded with all this Atlantean technology. It was wall to wall from the top to the bottom with small lights and machines with dials. There were a few men standing there who were also from Atlantis and they were scientists.
If that’s got you wanting to read more – and there is a whole lot more – then the page you want to visit is this one.
And finally, what is that thing of beauty? Why, that’s the Tricorn Shopcentre in Portsmouth. It’s no longer there but this page on Brutalism showcases the gorgeous structure in over thirty photos. While the building couldn’t be saved I’d like to offer a thank you to Angelfire for its part in preserving this architectural gem.