tMP Exclusive Interview with John Moore
Webmaster – Phoenix West Midlands Brass
By way of an introduction, could you please tell us a little about yourself
I play E flat bass with Phoenix, been with them only since January, I am now 67 years old. My parents bought me a trumpet when I was about thirteen, I had lessons with Ron Page a dance band player, there was no music in my school and as I progressed I unfortunately had no outlet for my playing development, I didn't know any brass bands. When I left school I was doing 3 nights a week at college, so my trumpet went up the loft. When I was about 25 I was encouraged to start again, and eventually became a founder member of Wolverhampton Brass Band. I left them for Black Country Brass and eventually went on to 1st Bari. I left and had about a year off, but then joined Hanger Motors/Banks's Brewery Band, I was chairman there for several years and with promotions to the championship section I am proud to have played in the National Finals at Albert Hall in two successive years. Unfortunately the band went downhill fast and I ended up with the admin of winding the band up.
I had about 5 years off banding, and then joined Stourport band with Dave Maplestone as MD, I was on third cornet then, but due to some player losses I went onto E flat bass. Wish I had gone on bass 30 years ago.
Are you actively involved in playing a brass instrument with any band, or do you simply undertake the web design on behalf of a band?
You see from above I play for Phoenix; since January; The website hadn't been touched for 2 or 3 years so I volunteered to bring it up to date.
How long have you been involved in web design, and how did you first get involved in it?
I was thrown in the deep end just a few years ago when the webmaster at work left the Co, I took over the admin and gradually picked up design knowledge on the fly as it were. I've had no formal training so I guess I've picked up some bad habits
Do you manage/run any other web sites, if so, which ones?
Having now retired I only do the band site.
What applications did you use to build your site and why did you choose these?
I use predominantly Adobe(Macromedia) Dreamweaver. This was the software we used at work, so I stuck with it.
Please can you explain for us how you prepared and planned for the development of the site when asked to implement this for the band?
To be honest I didn't really plan the site. It was already there but way out of date. I didn't like the layout so I played around with a few ideas before settling on the current design.
What content do you feel should be included on a brass band www site?
I think it is difficult to bring anything new to a BB site, look around several and what do you find, history, latest news, engagements, members etc, you've just got to make yours look good, be easy to navigate, and to be interesting.
Do you use innovative ideas on your www site?
Being a late starter and self taught it is difficult to be innovative, I trawl the internet looking for ways of doing things, for example the juke box on our site is from a free script I found on the net, but I have discovered it does not work reliable with Windows Media player 10, and I can find no way to sort this at the moment.
I would also like to work with data base elements, but the learning curve is very steep when you are on your own.
Why should people visit Phoenix West Midlands Brass Band www site?
The Phoenix band has had a very rapid rise from its first days in 2000 to promotion to the first section for next year. We have had many messages of good wishes, so I would hope our supporters can keep up to date of our news.
What do you feel is important when designing and implementing www sites…?
It should appear clean and uncluttered, I hate sites where there are boxes of info and links all over the place, I feel I am being trapped into something I don't want to do
The navigation should be simple so a site map becomes unnecessary. I really like static navigation bars, I've used a simple frame for ours but I accept I need to change from using frames, I wish I knew another way of creating a static nav bar without using a frame.
How long did this site actually take you to build?
II guess it took about 2 or 3 weeks of a few hours a day to get the site up, and then a few more weeks gathering other data.
How do you manage the content on your web site and do you have a publishing policy?
Don't really have a policy, just a matter of keeping in touch with the officials.
What would you recommend as the best way to start to learn about designing and building www sites?
I don't think I'm best qualified to answer this for the reasons mentioned above. If possible it's far better to get formal training with current design methods, otherwise you will end up with bad habits like me.
Do you have a favourite technical reference book for budding web designers?
Sorry no, I just use the Dreamweaver manual, and trawl the internet. Problem with the net is though, you can often find some extensive info, but you have no idea how old it is.
How do you see the influence of the internet assisting the banding movement over the next 5 to 10 years?
I guess I'm a bit old fashioned, but not a lot really, I don't think people outside the movement have any interest in band sites. However with site like yours and 4barsrest, the communication for the band world has grown and will continue to grow.
In most visited order, what are your 5 most frequently used www sites?
Facebook.com, a new band play tool.
Themouthpiece.com; My own banking sites; Ebay; Canopus video forum
Can you let our members know of any other www sites you feel are interesting to visit but are not in your top 5, and why this is so.
Apart from the above, I don't really have another site that I can think of, I just tend to use the net as a search tool for whatever I'm looking for at the time.
I suppose bravenet.com is ok, it has some useful web tools.
Could you please name your all time favourite www site, and why so?
Honest, I don't have one
Do you use online community forums, if so, which ones do you use?
Facebook.com, as mentioned above a bit of fun, but at 67 I don't get too exited about that sort of thing.
What do you do to relax and unwind?
I like gardening and watching tele.
Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.
Wow, what a question, I'm very happily married, 45 years almost, two adult sons, one still at home, and one 9 year old grandson.
What are your other hobbies?
I like still and video photography and video editing, now into HD
What do you drive?
When I retired 2 years ago I had to give up a Co car, so I treated myself to a new Honda Jazz