A Random Day on G&T: 10 Years On

On the 23rd February 2007 – 10 years ago to the day – Ganymede & Titan published four articles.

It perhaps seems odd to remember we used to be like this. After all, these days you’re sometimes lucky if you get four updates a month. We were a rather different beast back then. True, we still did loads of in-depth articles, but we also prized ourselves on reporting every single bit of Red Dwarf-related news going. Fun though that might have been, it’s the kind of thing that is entirely unsustainable now we have, y’know, proper jobs and stuff. We’d rather concentrate on giving you fewer, more substantial things to get your teeth into.

Still, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what we were up to exactly ten years ago today. If you’re lucky, you may just notice a few comments on one of my bugbears. But I think it’s quite subtle.

(Note that one of the items listed here references our spoilery article published the other day, so stop reading if you’re trying to avoid that.)

Days of Hope
A news item on a revival of a Howard Goodall musical. The link to the WhatsOnStage article doesn’t work any more: it only leads to the site’s front page. Meanwhile, the link to the The Kings Head Theatre website leads to a crappy domain squatter page: they’ve moved from kingsheadtheatre.org to kingsheadtheatre.com. Neither of the missing pages are saved by the Wayback Machine, meaning all information we linked to is entirely lost. Hooray!

A Message From Norm
What a timely thing to be reminded of, considering the most recent leak about Red Dwarf XII. Norman Lovett: the knob’s knob.

Brilliantly, not only does the link to the news story on Norm’s site not work any more, but it doesn’t even go to Norm’s current site – instead it goes to the blog of the most interesting man in the universe. (I am fully aware of the situation here involving rather less frozen water than is ideal for a certain popular winter activity.) Irritatingly, Norman moved his site from normanlovett.co.uk to normanlovett.com, which is the worst thing he has ever done.

Incidentally, Norm’s current front page indicates that he’s just made a visit to Australia. Before that, we have an entirely blank news update from January 2016… and then a DVD review from 2012. Excellent work.

It’s a pod!
By far the most significant article published on this particular day, about a TOS article giving the first real details about a certain lost episode of Series 1: Bodysnatcher. I also managed to write the following brilliant thing:

“As for the sample section of script given – it’s brilliant. “‘Awful’ is when you’re fumbling with your date in the back of your car and you discover she’s got testicles” might be an old joke (although it was less old back in 1983), but it’s still hilarious.”

An analysis of that joke is well beyond the scope of this article, and I’m not going to attempt to do that debate justice here. What I will say however, is that there isn’t a chance in hell I’d pull out that joke for specific praise if I was writing that news article today.

As for links: the one to the TOS story doesn’t work, although it’s still on the site under a completely different URL. The link to our previous story on the release works fine, as does the link to our article The Lost Episodes. Sadly, the link to the Doctor Who Restoration Team website doesn’t work either, though the material is still available online on an entirely different domain.

You Bet Your Ass
And finally, a short piece about, erm, Red Dwarf gambling chips: a piece of merchandise which I think pretty much everybody has forgotten ever existed. A limited edition of 1000 sets. Did they even manage to sell 1000 sets?

As for links: the piece to our article still works, but the link to TOS doesn’t – although as ever, it’s still online under a different URL.

There are three things I’d like to take away from this little exercise. Firstly: argh Norm. Secondly: argh me. And thirdly: out of every single external link used in these news stories, precisely none of them still work. At best, the sites have just moved the content elsewhere, but at worst the material has been deleted entirely, or the site no longer even exists. It seems strange to me that our stupid fan site managed this shit better than any other site we linked to.

It also makes me wonder whether the sites we link to today will do any better, or whether in ten years time the hit rate will be exactly the same. Perhaps news sites which care about the history of things should be saving local copies of external pages, ready to use as replacements if the original falls off the web.

I mean, just imagine the damage being done to history on sites which cover subjects which are actually important, instead of Red Dwarf gambling chips and grumpy old men.

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11 Responses to A Random Day on G&T: 10 Years On

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  1. I do like to use the random feature and read old stuff (I do remember years ago, when Ganymede & Titan was still funny), which can be very…enlightening. I seem to recall an update consisting of very few words (maybe even just one), and a link. Which of course, doesn’t work anymore, and we don’t have the vaguest idea of what the piece is about.

  2. I was very relieved to find that the XTC fansite Chalkhills has archived all the years of back issues of the amazing in-depth interview fanzine formally hosted as a MySpace blog until its host unceremoniously expunged it from the internet. We’re talking thousands of printed pages’ worth of valuable, irreplaceable material that it actually required a third party to bother backing up to stop it disappearing forever.

  3. I knew this was a John article from the opening sentence. What do I win?

  4. As far as the broken link on TOS goes: I would much rather the links on the site have the format that they’ve had since 2009 – switching to which will be what broke it – than the format that they had back then. It would be nice to be able to have an htaccess or something to fix the old ones, but the problem is that the old system is so outdated that it’s basically just impossible to map to the current one.

    At least the current format is fairly future-proofed: you can rest fairly assured that (certainly as long as I have anything to do with it!) any URL that works on the site now, we’ll try and ensure always works for as long as possible.

    While we’re on the subject: it’s lovely that we have all the old Observation Dome stuff on here but, as I think several of us have said before, I wish we still had the comments. Some of it would undoubtedly be hugely embarrassing, but given the nature of the site there are lots of tiny posts that clearly subsequently led to long conversation threads that have since been lost. Hey ho.

  5. G&T Admin

    While we’re on the subject: it’s lovely that we have all the old Observation Dome stuff on here but, as I think several of us have said before, I wish we still had the comments. Some of it would undoubtedly be hugely embarrassing, but given the nature of the site there are lots of tiny posts that clearly subsequently led to long conversation threads that have since been lost. Hey ho.

    Now, at least some of the comments made it across:

    http://www.ganymede.tv/tag/observation-dome/

    But I consider folding in the old OD posts to G&T one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made when it comes to keeping the historical context of those days. Some stuff is corrupt, and just folding it into the G&T archives does a disservice to what was ultimately a separate site, with a separate feel. It’s one reason I was so keen to do the right thing with NTS.

    It’s something I think about quite a lot, and I’m still annoyed by it. OD should still exist online as an entirely separate archive.

  6. So I just went through the comments on that old “A Message From Norm” thread:

    All they have to do is ask the BBC. I’m sure that they’ll give them permission, considering how well-known and succesful Red Dwarf has been.

    the Lister & Rimmer we all got into weren’t two old guys. They were Lister in his mid 20’s and Rimmer a bit older … Sure you can argue that Cat could be a different character now, an older cat. Again, however that’s not OUR cat.

    Also Series 3000 mechs. It always struck me there was a story to be written about those Androids in Human clothing who went on the run.

    How do you get the light bee through the wall? Sorry :)

    If nothing else, Normans comments have opened up a can of worms…

    It doesn’t … savagely attack anyone either. Well not unless they show some form of … scottishness…

    I think … it’s long past the point where VIII can be concluded properly … It would be much better to do a 6-episode series of fresh adventures, not even referring to the events of VIII.

    Amazing how such things can look after ten years of hindsight.

  7. On the subject of bizarre Red Dwarf merchandise from the mid-2000s, I remember the official site advertised a Red Dwarf ‘ship issue’ Rimmer’s toolkit – clippers, screwdrivers, stuff for fixing computers with etc. – and even contained a ship issue condom for Rimmer (Size XXS).

  8. I do like to use the random feature and read old stuff

    The Random feature turns up some gold sometimes.
    Like this window into a bygone age:
    http://www.ganymede.tv/2004/08/gmail-invites/

    Hey, at least the Gmail link on that page still works!

    (But not the embedded logo image.)

  9. G&T Admin

    (But not the embedded logo image.)

    FIXED

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