Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The First Unofficial Website

It's a bit surprising that James doesn't have an official site at all, but sometimes fan sites are more comprehensive, because they're made with love and dedication. Such is the case with the First Unofficial Website, which still seems to be the only James-only site out there. The effort of the fans who started the page nine years (!) ago, when James was still doing bit parts, is pretty amazing. It shows James has had a fan base for ages. I feel like such a newbie, which is probably why I haven't mustered the courage to post in the forum yet.

The article collection goes back to 1996. Having been a fan of a band in the 90's, I know how hard it can be to hunt for articles in magazines without the help of the internet (and all articles still don't show up online today). The collection is quite extensive and must have taken a while to put together. The photo gallery shows a comprehensive collection of James' earlier career and also quite a few BSG photos. (He had a rather interesting look on Sex, Chips & Rock'n'Roll - I'm not sure if I find it handsome or just really effeminate.)

The page has contact with James, and there are lots of messages from him. There's a separate messages from James page, but also check the forum where he posts every now and then (the forum is still active, too, which is not a given on an old site). The latest messages are from June. Sometimes light and cheerful, other times and deep and pondering, the messages were a very informative read for me. Above all, you learn more about his private life (nothing too intimate though) - the constant traveling between London, India (where his wife is from) and Vancouver being one recurring theme. There are lots of interesting messages, and I'll probably make another post sometime and quote them a little, but I'm still in the process of absorbing them all.

Going through the page, I was able to form a picture of James' career before BSG. He didn't really have many TV or movie roles, and the ones he had weren't very impressive. He sounds understandably frustrated in the old messages - having almost nothing to do in Bridget Jones' Diary, doing some blink-and-miss-it parts, then the trouble with getting his movie Beginner's Luck shown anywhere. Coming to think of it, he was 32 when he landed the role in BSG - not old, but old enough to have been in acting for quite a while without a considerable success. With BSG, he finally has something challenging to work with, and you can tell it makes a difference. But whatever the era, he always seems appreciative of the fans.

My only complaint with the site is that the look and general coding stuff could use a revamp, but the owners are apparently aware of this. I do prefer it when sites stay online until they're ready to update, instead of having a big "under construction" sign up for a year. The site has exclusive content, and I'm glad the creators - Jin and Rikkie- have taken the time to keep it up and update every now and then.

I'm not sure how much I would have found out about James if it weren't for this page. Even if the Wikipedia entry on him is pretty extensive as far as Wikipedia entries go, it doesn't really give a very clear picture of his life before BSG, and neither do the newer BSG-related interviews (where, understandably, he really doesn't talk about much else than BSG). I've found some fan reports of cons and such - which are hard to find on Google, with all the spam crap getting in the way - but they're also all BSG era. Most of the stuff I know about James, I know through this page. It's really a great resource.


Anonymous said...

If you search the forum going back 6 months or a year, you'll find many more screen stills - those I made posted, from "Going Wrong" (TV adaptation of a Ruth Rendell novel, from 10 years ago, in which James was the lead) and an episode of the silly show "Relic Hunter" in which he guest starred. Janine and the other Lupines haven't added them to the Gallery page yet. "Relic Hunter" was hilariously bad, but he looked great. "Going Wrong" was the first thing I saw him in and I immediately fell in love with him. I managed to find the DVD recently and made loads of screenstills, although I've only capped part 1 (it consists of 3 parts, each 50-minutes long, and he is in every scene). I have to find the time to screencap parts 2 and 3 as well.

Deniselle said...

Thanks for the tip! :) I see you also did some "One night with the king" screencaps. It's amazing how different he's looked for different roles - not a hint of Gaius.