Soaking Stars - a Short History
When I bought my first dial-up modem back in 1997 and started using the internet, I was amazed at how easily it had suddenly become to find pictures of women in wet clothing.
Previously it had been almost impossible to fulfill my need to see fully clothed ladies getting soaking wet, unless by complete chance, or by scanning the TV guide with a fine-tooth comb - the VCR was set to record any shows whose descriptions included the code words "[person X] takes the plunge", "is thrown in at the deep end" or "finds herself in hot water" just in case; usually the result was crushing disappointment. Now I suddenly had access to hundreds of "wetlook" (as I now knew it to be called) images and videos on demand.
While this was a massive step forward, there was still nowhere near the sheer quantity of wetlook media available nowadays. One phrase which returned little or nothing from the search engines (mainly Yahoo and Alta Vista - this was even pre-Google!) was "wet celebrities". WAMTEC was around, with an already enormous listing of clips tantalisingly described in short sentences, but very few actual photos. There were already sites collecting vaguely saucy photos of celebrities in various states of undress, but to my surprise there wasn't a wetlook equivalent. So, fired up with the enterprising spirit of the internet, I decided to start one.
With the help of Netscape's remarkably basic HMTL editor and a copy of HTML For Dummies, the site somehow took shape and went online with a handful of screengrabs and scans from my limited collection. I wasn't really sure how to go about promoting the site, but people seemed to be finding it and soon the contributions were starting to pour in.
By the start of the 21st century, over a hundred different celebrities were represented in the archive, but the amount of time required to process the pictures, create the thumbnails and manually code the pages was more than I could cope with. There was no active decision to close the site, but it was increasingly put on the back burner while I shifted my attention to other projects, my writing and even - gasp - real life. After a final flurry of activity in 2003-04, the site fell into a state of disrepair, I didn't manage to get around to renewing the domain name or the hosting account, and Soaking Stars dried up.
Half a decade later, while going through a stack of backup CD-Rs, I was surprised to discover that a folder called "stars" on an innocent looking disc actually contained all the photos from (just about) the most recent incarnation of Soaking Stars. For a while I wondered what to do with them. I considered posting them to Rapidshare or some such file hosting site for all to download, or asking if anyone would care to take have the photos and resurrect the website. Then I realised that, thanks to the way the web has developed, restoring and maintaining the site needn't be anything like the chore it had been. Thanks to online website builders such as Weebly, there's no longer any need to individually code pages or spend hours generating thumbnail images; it's all done on the fly. It's taken somewhere around three months of tinkering with Weebly to get the site back up and running and, I think, looking better than ever.
If you've never heard of the site before, welcome. If you're a fan of the site from "the old days", I hope you enjoy the new look and find it easier to use than before. Either way, enjoy the site!