It is now over three and a half years since Roger Watkins and I launched Simesite on Dec. 16 2002. Little did we think at that time that after such a relatively short period the site would have to continue with one of its founders permanently absent, not because the Site had not been a success nor due to any internal dispute, but because of his premature death.
Having talked with Roger until only about a month ago, and though the question was certainly too delicate to bring up given his condition, I well knew that he wished the Site to continue in cyberspace once he was gone. We had both put a lot of work and energy into trying to keep the Site a living thing. It was a creation that he was proud of and took great interest in, as he did all things relating to the old Variety and the people connected with it. On a few occasions, when my own enthusiasm for the Site was perhaps flagging due to a lack of responsiveness from other muggs, Roger, with his usual indefatigable enthusiasm, always nudged me on.
I have been asked many times in the past half year what will happen to the Site when Roger passes away. The answer is that it will continue. And I hope it will obtain not only the help of Ian Watkins, who has always been instrumental in providing the technical know-how to keep the Site afloat, but also that of other ex-Variety volunteers who want to keep the Site alive, and I don’t mean just on the occasion that one of us dies. If we did only that we’d be turning it into a funeral rag instead of the cheerful, disputatious, nostalgic link that it has always been intended to be. As always in the past, the Silverman family has been most supportive of our efforts.
I know that most of those who have read and contributed to the Site over these years would consider it a great shame to have the webpage disappear, not only because in a sense it is a tribute to Roger and all those who are no longer with us, starting right from Sime, but also because it remains the only vehicle linking all the surviving muggs, no matter how little some of them participate in the Site, as well as being the depository of our Archive, meaning everything that has been thus far posted and which I doubt anyone has ever bothered saving or printing out.
Hence the decision to keep it alive. However, after taking a hard look at the Site, I’ve felt that some basic simple changes would make for greater clarity. So, over the weekend of May 13, at a time when some of us used to schlepp to the Cannes Festival, Ian and I sat down in his London office and came up with the present re-design.
As you can see, the Home Page now leads right into whatever news has been added by “the desk” or contributors. Those accessing the Site no longer have to click to different interior pages as before, which we suspect meant that many of the items posted were never found by some of the viewers.
We have also consolidated the red buttons of the left hand side of the page, eliminating “Feedback”, “Soundtrack”, “Inside Stuff”, “Nostalgia”, “Slanguage” and “Inside Variety”. However, whatever had been posted in these sections in the past is not lost but can be accessed by clicking on “Archive”. None of the material has been eliminated. Incoming copy that would formerly have been included in any of these sections will now simply be posted on the Home Page as breaking news.
Finally, once again we urge all of you out there to provide us with FEEDBACK. If you’ve run out of nostalgia items, let us know what you’ve been up to in your private lives, or send us an anecdote, or some comments about the redesign, or whatever you like. As long or short as you like. This is YOUR Site and the only way to keep it from becoming mummified is by providing it fresh live info regularly.