Somewhere, in a box in a cupboard (or in my loft), in the back pages of a notepad with various rap lyrics scribbled in it, there are usernames, passwords and web addresses, which if used correctly, would allow you to access the most awesome online content ever made. Or at least, they would’ve done. I’m talking about my first few pages that were hosted on the genius that is/was Geocities. As of yesterday, they are officially no more.
In actuality, I lost track of those pages a long time ago, but in all the years that have passed, I’ve clung to the hope that one day I’ll stumble upon that notepad again and be able to revisit those animated gifs / absurdly compressed Wu-Tang videos / early teen ramblings. I even think there might have been some Jenny McCarthy related content somewhere – that’s how old school it was. I’m pretty sure that I had some pages in ‘Hollywood’, and ‘SunsetStrip’ too. And I definitely remember using ‘Area51’ to host my Real Media files but the specifics escape me.
All I really know for certain is that along with Angelfire & Fortunecity, Geocities helped to make me the web designer that I call myself today. It was in those badly coded, garish, always-black-background sites that I learnt what an ‘a’ tag is and how to embed a wav file that played repeatedly in the background with no option to turn it off. During the day, I’d hand write basic html (with a pen and paper) that I wanted to use, so that in the evening, I could spend as little time as possible on my Dad’s 56k modem updating my pages before someone else in the house tried to make a phone call and killed my glorious work. Not to mention, we were paying by the minute for that connection and my Dad thought I was using it for ‘research’ for homework and whatnot, so any glimpses of a slowly progressively downloading 200kb image of Ol Dirty Bastard were met with a disapproving frown.
I stopped using Geocities just after the watermark scandal, and before it got bought out by Yahoo, so it’s been about a decade since those hedonistic glory days.. but there will always be a special place in my heart for Geocities.