The Official Alloy FAQ Page

Alloy - a mailing list for artist, musician, composer, and world-reknowned visionary Thomas Dolby Robertson - now has an official FAQ page. Welcome :) !

Alloy was begun at 2:22 am on February 2, 1996 by Australian computer expert Paul Baily. After more than two years of brilliantly caring for the list Paul found he needed to step away from his list duties, and offered ownership to me as of July 19, 1998. Thanks entirely to Paul's generous assistance and the patience and kindness of Alloy's members worldwide, I've been able to gradually learn the ropes of list ownership. No one can ever fill Paul's shoes - I only hope I can maintain Alloy as the kind of list Paul had originally envisioned - a list where fans from around the world can come together to discuss Thomas Dolby's work, as well as indulge in other paths of conversation amongst ourselves from time to time. Alloy's members are some of the most intelligent, interesting, diverse, creative and friendly individuals on the Internet, and I'm proud of the community it has become.

Our Membership

Not surprisingly, the diverse work of Thomas Dolby has attracted an equally diverse group of fans from around the world. Our members come from a great variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and range in age from teenage to mid-seventies. I feel we're fortunate to have so many wonderful and unique people joining us here. And as an added honor, Mr Dolby himself subscribes to the digest version of Alloy and has been known to post to us from time to time.

Fun Things You Can Do as an Alloy Member

If you like the sound of this mailing list and wish to become a part of it, then by all means,

1. Subscribe! - Set up to write an email as normal. Write <> in the address line. Then write <subscribe alloy> in the body of your letter if you wish to subscribe to the 'live' version of Alloy (posts are sent through to you as they are written; many people prefer this version as it puts them right in the action!) or write <subscribe alloy-digest> in the body if you prefer the digest version (posts are compiled for the day and then sent to you in one convenient mailing). Write nothing else besides the code of your choice. Your subscription request is processed by a computer and if it sees anything else in the body of the letter, your request won't go through. Leave the subject line blank.

Alloy is free to join and if you enjoy your subscription, which I hope you do, you can remain subscribed indefinitely with no charge of any kind, ever. All you need is an active email account.

2. Unsubscribe - Members may unsubscribe at any time for any reason (many members do this temporarily if they're going on vacation or are dealing with time constraints and can't read their email as often) Write <> in the address line. Write either <unsubscribe alloy> or <unsubscribe alloy-digest> in the body of your letter, depending on which you're subscribed to. Leave the subject line blank.

3. Switch from regular Alloy to Alloy Digest (or vice versa)... simply unsubscribe from one using the above formula, and then subscribe to the other. This can even be done as two seperate lines in the same email to, if you're feeling daring.

4. Post - Once you've subscribed, you may send messages through <> Simply send your posts as you would any ordinary email. In the subject line, please begin your topic with the word Alloy.. this helps members see which of their arriving email is from this group & saves time for all subscribers.

5. Read the Alloy Archives - If you want to read previous posts others have made, they are all archived in digest form at: <> This will help you get up to date on recent happenings, and get caught up on any posts you may have missed.

6. Read the Alloy Archives - Backwards! - If it's taking a long time for you to download the archives & it's more convenient for you to see the most recent archives listed first... go to <>

7. Add yourself to the Alloy 'Names to Faces' page - originated by Alloy founder Paul Baily to be our own 'Who's Who'... and currently under reconstruction here at the new site. Here is where we can get a glimpse of many of our fellow Alloyites and even read a tiny bit of biographical information, where provided. Link here to see it in its construction phase. Please contribute a photo of yourself!

8. Write to me if you have any questions or concerns at all, or are having trouble subscribing or unsubscribing. My address is I'm Robin, Alloy's list manager, and I'll do my best to help you.

Music Links!

For hard-to-find Dolby recordings, try these sites first:

<>, <>, <>

Project B-Day

As an Alloy subscriber, you may hear occasional mention of a 'project B-Day'... here's the scoop! This is the working name of a group birthday project which Alloy member have been organizing for a few consecutive years now, in honor of Thomas Dolby's birthday (which falls in mid-October). The project consists of participating members contributing their own 'cover' of one of Thomas' songs, and sometimes an additional song which they themselves have written (in the case of the many musicians/songwriters on our list who participate). All contributions are then compiled and packaged very nicely as a gift for Thomas. Everyone who contributes either a song or a birthday greeting to the recording also receives a copy. All who have contributed have enjoyed the experience & say it's a lot of fun!

If you should wish to know more about this year's Project B-Day, please don't hesitate to post inquiries to the list. The project is organized by a slightly different group of Alloy members each year, so you'll have to check in for the specifics. You will then be directed to a seperate list on which the logistics of the project are discussed out of 'earshot' of Mr Dolby, so as not to spoil the surprise :)

To hear the efforts of previous years, go to:

or, link to these and other Dolby-related Alloy-member web sites via Thomas' own Reference Library at the Flat Earth Society:

(and while you're at The Flat Earth Society, why not do a little browsing... the new site is beautiful!)


Basic List Etiquette

Alloy's standards of conduct are based in common courtesy, just as in any other community. When joining us at Alloy, feel free to ask questions, introduce yourself, or join in an already established topic of conversation. The people at Alloy are very friendly and we're always happy to welcome another Dolby fan into the fold :) Be yourself, and make yourself at home. You may also choose to simply 'lurk' and read the posts that others make, which is also perfectly acceptable for a member to do. That's all there is to it!

There have been a scant few individuals over the years who have come onto the list and caused intolerable disruptions. In the past, one such individual claimed that his right to say whatever totally inappropriate things he felt like saying on my list was spelled out in the American Constitutional right to freedom of speech, and that he was being 'victimized' by my asking him to stop. Frankly, I'm not certain how U.S. Constitutional rights apply to an international internet community (isn't it really the realm of the UN, if you want to get that technical?) I only know that the Constitution was written to protect people from political persecution. It was not written so that people could deliberately set about trying to hurt others on this mailing list and not expect there to be any consequences.

Generally of course, these problems occur very rarely indeed. The subscribers to Alloy are a uniquely courteous bunch, and problems such as these are so rare as to be almost nonexistent.

In Respect To Privacy:

The privacy of all Alloy members should be respected at all times. Please never discuss private things about other members in your Alloy posts without express prior permission from that member. Unless truly exceptional circumstances present themselves, it's best to keep intensely personal disagreements amongst members away from the general Alloy list postings. If anyone should develop any kind of conflict with another member for any reason, please bring the problem to me and as list manager I'll go out of my way to do everything I can to sort it out. It has been the very rare problem which could not be resolved through extensive polite emails and sincere discussion.

Specifically concerning Mr Dolby's privacy: It's an unfortunate fact of life that celebrities can attract unwanted, unwarranted, and unfortunate attention. Sometimes, innocent comments can be seen as a threat by people in the public eye - it's a sad by-product of fame in our time. Here on Alloy, we respect Thomas Dolby both as an artist and as a human being. We are delighted by his continued participation as a member of the Alloy mailing list, and we honor his privacy and safety and that of his family. For that reason, unconfortable commentary or speculation on personal aspects of Mr. Dolby's life, be that his family or his home, will not be tolerated on Alloy. (sincere thanks to Melissa Jordan for contributing this paragraph to the FAQ!)

Technical Advice on Posting to Alloy

Please refrain from posting 'joke lists', chain letters, or advertising non-Dolby-related things for sale on Alloy. If you want to share such things with certain individuals it's better to email them with it personally.

Please don't try to post images/attachments to Alloy. They will be filtered out by the server & bounced to me, and I won't be able to forward it to the list because the server just won't handle it. Images or attachments can be emailed to individual members personally or they can be displayed at your web site for Alloy members to visit.

For some reason, MIME format will not be accepted by the server, so please remember to post in plain text only.

Thank you for reading the Alloy FAQ! I'll update this page with more answers to questions as they are brought to my attention. Please feel free to browse the rest of my site. Just follow the


1979 - Thomas Dolby with Bruce Woolley and Camera Club
1981 - Thomas Dolby pre-'Wireless', early collaborative work
1982 - Thomas Dolby "Golden Age of Wireless" released in Britain
1983- Thomas Dolby "Golden Age of Wireless" in US; final touches on "The Flat Earth"
1983 - Interview with Lene Lovich, TMDR collaborator
1984 - Thomas Dolby in NYC, "The Flat Earth" US tour
1984 - Thomas Dolby in Los Angeles, "The Flat Earth" US tour continues
1985 - Thomas Dolby & George Clinton, Dolby's Cube
1985 - Thomas Dolby with Ryuichi Sakamoto
1986 - Thomas Dolby, collaborations with Joni Mitchell, work on film scores
1988 - Thomas Dolby, Mike Kapitan, "Aliens Ate My Buick" and the Lost Toy People
1992 - Thomas Dolby, the making of "Astronauts and Heretics"
1994 - Thomas Dolby's Guggenheim Virtual String Quartet exhibit; mass-multimedia concepts
1997 - Thomas Dolby's Headspace, Beatnik software
Thomas Dolby's Headspace Lecture
Thomas Dolby at Work
Thomas Dolby at Play
Read the Alloy FAQ
Visit Names to Faces - the Alloy Members' Photo Gallery
Return to Thomas Dolby - Images and Interviews
Return to Robin's Home Page