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The Black Hole

Co-running Ganymede & Titan gives you a certain insight into the world. Like how whilst you may surround youself with friends who utter the word "cunt" every other sentence, a lot of people still find it offensive. How, despite information about DVD release dates being ridiculously easy to find on the net, people will still post in forums asking "WHN WILL SERIS 8 B RELESED". How a lot of people just know the Dwarf Movie won't be made, despite them having no knowledge of how the industry works whatsoever.

But the thing that surprises me most about it is this: the lack of current fansites dedicated to the show. There's G&T, of course. Then, there's Observation Dome, erm, founded by a member of G&T. Then there's The White Hole, which does have occasional updates (with Cappsy doing some sterling work on Wrinkles). As for the rest of the sites linked to the front of OD, they're not updated much at all - the work going towards OD, or sites like this. And beyond them, there's not very much at all.

Indeed, there have been some serious discussions - including on OD and the Official Webboard - at how imbalanced this makes coverage of certain aspects of the show. G&T has never been about simply providing facts, even in its news stories. I don't think this is unhealthy - I think the dangerous thing is when you've got bias that isn't explicitly stated (indeed, like most daily newspapers). We report the story, give the proper facts, and then give our opinions - we're not trying to hide anything from it. And there's a comments section if you disagree with what we're saying. Perfectly healthy and acceptable. We're talking about a fansite discussing Red Dwarf, here, not the BBC discussing the Middle East - you are allowed opinion in certain types of news stories.

Nonetheless, when we're one of the few people actually writing about Dwarf, things can look unbalanced. Neither me nor my co-conspirator Ian are fans of the last two series - so, by jingo, that's what we keep shouting. Of course, people will stick up for the series in the comments, and we keep inviting people to write articles giving the opposite point of view (and have published one) - but it does mean that a certain voice of the Dwarf fan community - those who loved the last two series - isn't represented as well as it should be.

That's not our fault, of course. And certainly not a reason to stop writing how we write. In fact, whose fault it is is pretty clear - it's those people who love the last two series, but don't go off and write about it. Again, it's the old apathy thing - people just aren't spending their time writing about the show on the internet.

Now, this is Red Dwarf. If you were going to make a list of shows you think would be well-served by fansites, it would be pretty near the top of the list. Why the apathy?

Well, it goes beyond Red Dwarf - and that's the reason I'm publishing this here, rather than on G&T itself. Because the same thing applies to so many programmes. Where's something decent about The Young Ones? The Fast Show? Rutland Weekend Television? Spitting Image? Look Around You? Alexi Sayle's Stuff? Sure, there's stuff about those programmes - but not the in-depth, nitty-gritty stuff. No proper reviews of episodes, for starters.

That's just TV comedy shows. Just imagine the same thing applied across every single topic imaginable, and you can see why the myth that "the internet contains everything" is just that: a myth. And yet, time and time again, I hear things like "Oh, I'd start a website, but I don't know what I'd talk about/all the stuff I'd do has been done/my dog ate my web browser, miss."

So, here's a challenge. If you don't run a website - pick a topic you like. It could be a TV programme, it could be a band you love, it could be an old computer game from 1982. Hell, it could be Red Dwarf, if you want. Have a look round on the net, and see if the kind of stuff you would have written about the subject has been done. If not: write it. Stick it on the net somewhere. Send it in to us perhaps, but if you want something of your own, it's not hard to start a website - you could even just get a free blog somewhere, and start posting on it. If you decide later that you want to restructure it into a different kind of website, fine - you can do that. But just get out there and start writing, start researching, start doing something. It doesn't take long - it's amazing what you can get done if you just put aside a couple of hours a week.

Start off simple, if you like. Take The Fast Show, for instance - build up an episode guide. Then write some reviews. Look around for interviews in papers. Or, heaven help us, try and get some interviews yourself. (Another thing I've learnt from G&T: getting interviews is a lot easier than you'd think.) Before you know it, you could be researching contemporary reactions from the show in a pile of old Radio Times listings, and have a website to be proud of, packed with stuff that's nowhere else on the web. It's just so gratifying to have people mail you and say "love what you're doing". Before you know it, you'll end with with a on your hands.

The web is a wonderful place. Go on - help make it even more wonderful, for all of us.

About this entry


I feel this may be an opportune moment to come out.

No, really.

I am currently hiding under the pseudonym of 'Captain Helix', and running a fansite devoted to - wait for it - Hyperdrive.

"WHAT?!", I hear you say. And I do hear you. It may just be the voices in my head.

I know there aren't a great many RD fans - especially those on here or the BTLi forums - who are also fans of this show, but I thought it was good enough to warrant a website, so I started one.
It's not trying to be a G&T for the show - it's pretty basic, really - but I've managed to get interviews with Nick Frost and Miranda Hart, and writers Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley have kindly offered to give me exclusive stuff, such as early concept drawings which have never been seen anywhere else before.

So, er, yeah. I kinda like Hyperdrive, and have set up a fansite.

By si
March 05, 2006 @ 1:08 pm

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Funnily enough, I was thinking recently about how rubbish the online presence of Roy of the Rovers is. The official site started out as a commendable stab, but has a hideous design and has completely collapsed with regards to updates; and there really isn't anything else. The Wikipedia entry, meanwhile, had one guy putting some good stuff into it but still felt quite inadequate. So, after having spent quite a bit of time doing up said Wiki entry, I've been giving serious thought to setting up a ROTR site. I might just give it a bit more thought now... ;-)

By Seb
March 05, 2006 @ 1:22 pm

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I'm very disappointed at the lack of any decent Father Ted websites, myself. I intended to rectify this by doing an episode-by-episode breakdown of all the references, oddities, etc., researching them all until I could have a series of small essays about every episode over the three series.

I don't remember what stopped me. I made a lot of progress on the "Hell" episode and then just...didn't go further. Maybe soon.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
March 05, 2006 @ 5:01 pm

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I should really probe the broab a bit more.

By Kirk
March 05, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

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With the mention of the Fast Show, Comedy Connections, BBC1 tonight 10.35pm.

Anyhow, this thread reminds me that I really should do something with, got it with the intention of making it a news and views site and what do I have at the moment, a fish recipe. I guess I'm still disolusioned when all the scans and stuff I did for my old Transformers comic website got copied onto one of the bigger sites with no credit whatsoever. Then again I coded that entirely in Notepad. Worryingly bits of it are still online, it looks horrible now.

By Daff
March 06, 2006 @ 4:18 am

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On the subject of the Fast show, does anyone else think that that new Goldfrapp song (the White Horse one) sounds like Channel 9's Micky Disco's 'Hey baby Sexy baby, Hot'? No? Just me...

By si
March 06, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

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That's a damn good job you've done there, si. Every show deserves a fan interested enough to give something that kind of attention and it's fantastic you've done that.

Also, a very good point well made there, John. I've been itching for a while to set up a decent fansite for something other than Dwarf (apart from DVD reviews, I find myself kinda burnt out when it comes to Dwarf analysis), so I'll maybe look into the possibility of creating some sort of Grant Naylor site dedicated to their other work, especially Wrinkles. Then again, you already cover Son of Cliché and Cliché very well on G&T. In fact, as soon as Rob Grant gets his output increased by a few more novels or a TV show, I might just dedicate a fan site to him.

By Cappsy
March 06, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

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Aw, gee, thanks Cappsy. Although I should say that the huge volume of Uni work I have on is stopping my episode guide expanding at the moment, although Hyperdrive writer Kevin Cecil has told me to get my degree as 'it may even come in useful.'

By si
March 06, 2006 @ 11:01 pm

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> just get out there and start writing, start researching, start doing something

Make me. :)

> as soon as Rob Grant gets his output increased by a few more novels or a TV show

Don't hold your breath... I wouldn't be surprised if Fat got delayed again.

I could probably put a Ted site together but it would be far worse than anything that's already out there. The wikipedia entry is actually quite informative. One thing I didn't know was that the interior scenes were shot in London, but really that should have been obvious.

By performingmonkey
March 07, 2006 @ 12:18 am

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