Early Days - 1994 - 96

I started on the Internet soon after Compuserve opened its mail connection to the Internet in 1993. After trying unsuccessfully to join the first ONJ mailing list I discovered it was defunct, so I started one, and managed to get a copy of the old list archives of the fabulous music site ftp.uwp.edu before the usual forces of darkness destroyed it. There was a good cut at a database of Olivia's recorded work, to which I added my own record listings and details from the 1976 NME book of Rock and the 1985 Record Collector article on Olivia.

This was what the first ONJ website on the net looked like

The first ONJ website

Someone at work pressed a copy of NCSA Mosaic in my hand, the entire program came on a single 1Mb floppy disc (!). This was the first browser that could support images, although they were only lowly GIFs, and the potential was obvious. I started my first Olivia Newton-John website in 1994, and launched it on the 8th December 1994. At the time webspace was very difficult to come by. Luckily Simon Clemmett was then a student at Stanford University, and kindly hosted it on www-leland.stanford.edu/~clem for a year or so.

These were hard times with no digital cameras, horrendously expensive flatbed scanners and the only scanning device I could get hold of was a 4-inch wide Logitech hand scanner, which had to be dragged over a picture, desperately trying to hold it straight and drag it in a straight line. This was enough to get the music pages up.

The Wild West - 1997-99

the front page, circa 1996

Only Olivia in 1996

These were exhilarating times, as so much more became possible, and graphic displays crawled from the 16-color VGA to true-color performance, web space became more affordable and plentiful. My first site had to fit on a floppy disk, but soon 25Mb became the norm and the site could break out into memorabilia and expand in pictures. Scripts could be run, enabling the first elements of dynamic pages. I first used this technology on the News pages, which were getting difficult to stay in control of with frequent updates to the various sections. After dabbling with the new technology I moved to www.onlyolivia.com in 1998 Many more people came online as AOL finally gave in to the inevitable and connected their proprietary online service and its millions of users to the Internet. The initial academic and intellectual ethos of the net was eroded by commercialism, as online advertising became the hope for Internet startups to pay back their venture capitalists. It couldn't last...

After the flood - the dot-com boom and bust 2000-03

the site around 2000

Richard & Helen's last
site in 2001

and it didn't. However, the technology improved and much more space became available. Competition shook out many of the companies, and the 'irrational exuberance' of the boom turned sour. For the first time the price of webspace increased, and web advertising became more aggressive and distracting in a vain attempt to interrupt people's immunity to it. However, Olivia fans received a welcome fillip in the years from 1998 onwards as Olivia started touring regularly, and made many more public appearances

2001 - Sept 2011 Kevin and Melissa pick up the reins

Kevin and his team took over the running of the fan club from Richard and Helen in 2001, and Helen ceased editing the website towards the end of 2006, with Melissa taking over running the website and messageboard, a popular addition to the Only Olivia website.

Olivia became much more active after 2000, releasing several albums and starring in a couple of edgy movies. Improved communications changed the landscape for fan clubs, and September 2011 the Only Olivia fan club closed, shutting this web site at the same time.

October 2011

Richard, the initial author of the website from the early 1990s through to the turn of the millennium, relaunched the web site from the 2006 archives. However, these were damaged, there wasn't enough to rebuild a lot of the site

March 2013

I recovered the backups of the site in December 2010 after it was closed. These seem to be complete though something has messed up the structure. So restoration will be a long haul...