Coffee Break with the Webmaster
December 9, 2016
Added links to James Bond Radio at various places around the site; in particular the Lawsuit page, because one podcast episode features the Lawsuit and the host illustrates a lot of what was being discussed musically. I found it informative and helpful, and he made the lawsuit story a lot easier to understand.
January 19, 2016
Added a new book to the reviews: The Music of James Bond by Jon Burlingame.
I also finally updated the biography to actually record the date of his death. It's one of those things that I put off the first few days after it happened, and then for some reason became increasingly difficult to do thereafter, and finally became a point of embarassment. It wasn't until I decided to add the James Bond book that I figured I should update that page as well, if I'm going to update this site at all.
Unfortunately there's not a lot to add, but I've noticed that a few "new" things that I wasn't aware of, like a final John Barry / Don Black song called "Our Time is Now," recorded by Shirley Bassey. I see that Americans is now on CD, as is (or was) First Love. So I'm going to update the discographies soon.
One of the reasons (among several) that I have let this place go to seed is that I'm not happy with the design, but never figured out what I wanted it to look like. Right now I'm thinking of using this site as my test bed to update to HTML 5, and hopefully make it compatible for tablets and smartphones. This was made clear to me once when I was out and about and wanted to know if I had a listing for a particular album, and this website is virtually unreadable on an iPhone. I have several websites, but this is the oldest and easiest to convert.
No promises, but I'm going to try.
October 29, 2008
Yes, it's been awhile since I've done anything here. It's hard to get psyched up over this when The Man hasn't brought out anything new since, I believe, Eternal Echoes back in 2002. There was brief hope when The Incredibles was in production, but he pulled out and the work went to Michael Giacchino. So it's been some six years of nothing but reprints, reissues, or the occasional cover album from Nic Raine.
But this morning I got something new in my email box. Amazon.co.uk sent me a pre-order alert that the long awaited, oft-delayed, 2nd edition of Barry's biography by Leonard, Walker and Bramley is finally seeing the light of day! Likely linked to coincide with the latest Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. I don't care why, I'm just happy it's finally coming out. It's now retitled John Barry: The Man with the Midas Touch, and you can get it from Amazon.co.uk. I haven't yet seen it from a USA source.
So while I was on Amazon to pre-order my copy, I also saw the new CD edition of Boom, one of Barry's (and Hollywood's) forgotten films. Boom is what's derisively called a Liz & Dick movie: something that should have been better than what it was, considering the people involved. It was originally a Tennesse Williams play called "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore," the play that begins the "latter" (i.e. crappy) period of his output.
I bought the soundtrack LP but it was sealed and I didn't have the wherewithall to open it. Plus it's been years since I've had a good, working turntable, so there was no point in trying to play it anyway. Now that the CD is out I'm anxious to hear it.
That's it. Looking at all this now, I'm seeing how much work I have to do and I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to do it. The HTML is what you'd call non-compliant, which means I wrote it before I learned XHTML and CSS. Fixing things, oddly enough, is much harder than it should be. Typically things get more complicated over time, and HTML follows that rule. But good XHTML and CSS do make the page easier to maintain and edit. Since I broke the website into many little pieces (each album has its own page), updating becomes a chore.
Still, it's been long-neglected and deserves to be freshened up a bit, so I'll do what I can.
July 4, 2004
I am in the process of doing the first real overhaul of this website since I changed it over to html in the mid 1990's. I figure I'm about 2/3rds of the way though.
This website began as a list. When I started actively collecting Barry's soundtracks in the early 80s, I used to go down to the record stores and poke through their Phonologs--these huge yellow-paged books that listed records that were (hopefully) in print and could be ordered. They listed stuff by both title and artist, so I'd note anything under the John Barry name. And I flipped through boxes and boxes of records. For awhile I was pretty good at naming who scored what movie, even if I hadn't seen the movie or heard the music, simply because I'd seen the soundtrack cover so many times.
So I began making lists. When I got an internet account, I used to post the list on Usenet and on a soundtrack mailing list, and people began sending me their lists. So my list got longer and more accurate.
Then the world wide web arrived, I learned some html and marked it up. And it worked pretty well--there were no graphics and it loaded very fast. In the days of 2400 and 14.4k bps dial-ups, this was extremely important.
I'd been patching it ever since. There were a lot of things I wanted to do--I wanted to add reviews. I wanted to add more info. I wanted album covers. I wanted more links. A wanted a slicker interface. But most of it just didn't work with the structure I already had.
So I finally got the energy and gumption to make the changeover: every album or movie has its own web page now. The downside is you don't get all the info on one big file in the Filmography anymore--now you have to follow a link for each title. Sorry--but that's the trade-off. The advantages are numerous: I can logically add album covers or other photos. I can put in reviews, liner note snippets, comments, links, and whatever else, that pertains to the given album or movie. Things are much more logically organized.
But I've tried to retain simplicity and speed. Geoff Leonard's website, John Barry: A Life in Music is far better looking and more professional than mine. I could make mine look more like his, but I'm happy where I am. This site is stripped for speed--the graphics are few; the html is as simple as I can reasonably make it; and there's no razzle-dazzle. But it loads fast and it doesn't choke older browsers or computers. And those of us who lived for a long time at the trailing edge of technology can appreciate that.
It's a huge amount of work--and one of the reasons I've put it off so long. But I managed to get through the Filmography, which was the largest and hardest. I'm hoping to get the rest done by the end of July.
It's still rough in a lot of spots. There are a lot of movies where I simply had nothing to say, or I couldn't remember a note of the music, and said so. I'm going to go through this periodically and try to fill in the holes and plug the leaks. I already do this on one of my other websites.
So this is it. I hope you like it. I do.