A Farewell to Marmablues

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

May 1998, half a lifetime ago. It was my 13th birthday, and my parents – no doubt annoyed by four years of me messing with the family computer – bought me my own. It had a 333MHz processor, 32 glorious megabytes of RAM, and most exciting of all, a 56k dial-up modem.

With Microsoft Word as my co-pilot and under the ever-watchful phone-bill-monitoring eyes of my parents, I discovered the delights of owning my own website. It had it all, oh yes. Giant background images, a different one for each page. Animated GIFs. Background MIDIs. Frames, <blink> and <marquee>. Web rings to click through, and Tripod’s banner ads inserted at the top of every page. It was called “The Mad Marmablue Web Portal”, and it was exactly as horrendous as you are imagining.

A few years later, a chronic lack of smallprint-reading led me to buy it a ‘free’ domain name, only to receive a scary-looking invoice a month later. In the end my parents sent the domain reseller a letter explaining that I was a dumb-ass kid who shouldn’t be trusted on the internet, and that was that. But at the age of seventeen, in possession of a Switch debit card, I found a web host who would set me up with a domain and 100MB of space for £20 a year. “marmablue.co.uk” was born.

Today, it died.

I shouldn’t feel sentimental about jettisoning an old unused domain, particularly not one that harks back to the late-90s animated GIF horror of the Mad Marmablue Web Portal. But it was a part of my youth, the place where for the first time I could put something and anyone could see it. It was where I took my first steps with HTML – by ripping off other websites, naturally – and in time, it was where I first learned JavaScript, PHP and SQL too.

I will miss it. But if I sit very still, and very quietly, I can still hear that horrible 8-bit MIDI rendition of the RoboCop theme tune. So maybe I won’t miss it all that much.


Martin Jenner 03 November 2010

98? Great balls of fire, it's 2010 and I wouldn't have the faintest idea how one goes about even buying a domain name, never mind building a whole website. GeoCities is dead now, right? Yeah, that's all my options exhausted.Ghastly neon animations and MIDI theme tunes would be something to which I can only aspire.Ah, the twentieth century. When a reasonable letter explaining your position actually produced a reasonable response (hell, the word 'letter' dates it more than anything else).I wish I could have seen it in all its blinking, 8-bit glory. In fact, I have this terrible urge to buy the domain and desecrate it in my own very special way, with all the inept hackery a first-time web designer can muster. It seems somehow appropriate.Raises a glass to the memory of Marmablue

John Robert Paul Dray 03 November 2010


I can't bring it back I'm afraid - I've long since lost the backups of its older, more horrific forms! :)Archive.org still has a few pages starting from around 2003 when it was a wiki.

John Robert Paul Dray 04 November 2010

Just had a look at some of the quotes! Sadly, most of the wiki pages don't seem to be on there :(

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