Flag Day

Posted on 5th May 2010

In 1989 I was working with iQ on a short tour of the UK. The support for several dates came from a band called Ark. They came from the Black Country in the West Midlands, which happened to be a lot closer to me than London and Southampton, where iQ were primarily based. Although I would still help out iQ for a good while, with Ark being closer and doing more gigs, I came to be more and more involved with Ark.

After the iQ gigs, I kept in touch with Ark, and thanks to Danny Mayo, who happened to live in Hinckley, near where I was living at the time, got to quite a few gigs. The one that changed it for me though was a gig at The Royal Standard in Walthamstow, North East London. Anne Fox, who is iQ guitarist Mike Holmes' sister, invited me down to the gig with a few other friends of iQ. We all had a great time, and I was moved enough to want to buy the album they had for sale, Dreams Of Mr jones. I didn't have enough cash on me, but thankfully Anne lent me the money to buy it.

Upon getting home and finally listening to the album, I was impressed with the songs. Even after just the few gigs I'd seen of them, I was convinced this was a band that looked like they were going to go places. From the end of 1989, I started going to more and more gigs, helping to unload and load the gear, doing lights occasionally (where the venue had controllers), became occasional driver and generally became an official roadie for the band. I'm not sure when exactly I crossed over from just being an enthusiastic fan to a roadie, but I'm glad I did. Over the next 5 years we toured, recorded and had a blast. Well most of the time. It all ended in March 1995, and the band members went on to other things.

In 1998 I bought my first PC and got on the internet from home. I then began my first interest in website design, development and deployment. The first website I ever launched was the Ark Appreciation Pages. It's often said start with what you know, so I did. The site remained virtually unchanged for 12 years, and although content got added from time to time, in the last few years news and updates began to dwindle, despite having lots of archive material needing digitising to put online.

In 2009 the band got together in a pub and talked about a possible reunion gig. John Jowitt and Steve Harris had been talking about doing some of the old songs again, and put the idea to Tony Short and Pete Wheatley. To their delight all were very enthusiastic to playing Ark songs again. Rehearsals began, with new drummer Tim Churchman, and very quickly more than just a reunion gig was on the cards. A tour and an album were starting to become a reality. As such in January I started looking redesigning and relaunching the Ark Appreciation Pages. The old site was in desperate need of a makeover, and as it was the closest the band had to an official site, it needed a severe clean up to promote the new line-up.

Talking with the band, it transpired that they were planning to launch an official band site. A site that was firmly aimed at promoting the new line-up. With the Ark Appreciation Pages having so much archive material, it was much better placed to look at the band's whole career, and perhaps most importantly from a fan's perspective. The band have been very supportive of the site over the years, and they wanted it to continue, so my aim is to compliment the official site as much as possible.

On Monday 3rd May, the new website was launched with a new domain, ark . eology . org. I'm disappointed I hadn't thought of that domain before, as the old grango address has now found it's way onto many sites referencing the band. The domain name itself seems to fit well with the site itself too, allowing fans to dig a little deeper to uncover the history of the band. And with nearly 30 years of history to draw on, that could potentially be a lot of digging ;)

The new site is now a dynamic site, and as such is a better fit to update content on a more regular basis. Expect regular updates of photos, and hopefully each month at least one set of mp3s added to the site. As the band start to tour again, new live material will hopefully be uploaded too. I'm really pleased to be working with the band again, as they have been missed. The 5 years I spent touring with Ark, helped to shape my future and introduced me to Nicole. I have great memories of those days, and it will be wonderful to be able to see some of the old crowd again. We might all be a little older, have families and the like, but we now have a new generation to educate as to why Ark were such a great band. Please check out the new site, and let me know what you think. If you're a fan of the band too, and have any archive material you can share (photos, reviews, mp3s, scans of ticket stubs, magazine adverts and reviews), please get in touch.

Ark are back.


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