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Friday, 31 October 2008

Fresh Opening of Mayfair Club

There has been a lot of reorganization going on behind the scenes in SL London, with the restructuring of management and fresh ideas by the Underground Club team. Although the Underground Club in Mayfair had been opened a couple of weeks ago, it was decided that the whole concept needed changing and bringing more up to date with the interior. The Club has actually been moved to the building across the road from the previous one, and it's looking pretty good with it's red walls and flashy honeycomb floor.

I must say I certainly prefer the look of the new club to the old one, it's sleek and classy and will suit any occasions, whether it's formal or casual dress. Club Manager Brie Janick told me last night that the Club will be re-opened this Saturday, 1st November at 12pm (SLT), with singer Mapoo Little singing live at 1pm (SLT).

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Houseboat Community in SL Chelsea

While I have been waiting for my apartment to be finished in SL Chelsea, which has been delayed because of the resurfacing of the roads in the sim, I often go back there for a wander round. The roads are looking fantastic, complete with box junctions and mini roundabouts and it's all looking very smart. I love the Chelsea sim and it's a great place to live, it just feels right! that little bit away from Knightsbridge with its busy high street, Chelsea has a real atmosphere about it. It looks like I will be moving back pretty soon now, the new apartments are beautiful and I can't wait to get my furniture sorted.

When I went back yesterday I decided to walk along to where the houseboats are moored, as I'd had a great time living on one of the boats when I first moved to SL London. In those days I had been the only person to rent a houseboat as it had all been very new. However, when I went back yesterday I noticed that the majority of them are now occupied and it all looks wonderful along there. People have added bits and pieces to personalise the boats and it's a proper little community now. I noticed one houseboat had been decorated for Halloween as well, which looked great. I am looking forward to Christmas in the London sims, I'll be getting my Christmas decs out pretty soon, once I move back to my lovely Chelsea.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Fabulous Prizes at Halloween Ball

I have just heard that some fantastic prizes can be won at the Halloween Ball on 31 October at 2pm to 4pm SLT. The Ball is to be held at the Underground Club in SL Knightsbridge, and as well as money prizes, the following designers are giving away their beautiful creations:

L$1000 of Ladies Fashions from Cher Demonge's 'Bonjour' Boutique
L$1000 of Men's Fashions from Girlspeedo Latte's 'Gbbrish' Boutique
Jewellery from Albros Breda's store 'Cihuae'

So make sure you dress in your best Halloween costumes for a chance to win these great prizes!!!


Big Green Switch Freebie Shop

"There is a need to look at the way we live our lives. Scientific evidence says that our planet is in grave danger. Not only have we filled the atmosphere with harmful gases, but we are in the process of exhausting all the natural resources that people have taken for granted for so long. The planet has changed naturally anyway throughout the decades and, according to the bulk of scientific opinion, the human race may be adding to the destruction of the planet by its carbon emissions and other behaviour." Says Nikk Huet (Nikk edited my original text as I do not agree that carbon causes any harm to the planet and any changes to climate etc. are completely natural. In my opinion the whole carbon theory is a scam to extract money and control the population, although I do agree that we need a reliable source of renewable energy such as the latest technology with nuclear power or wave power, before the EU puts our lights out altogether as they would like to! Janey Bracken).

Whether this is a fact or not is probably still open to debate, but I think everyone would agree that it is a good idea to be kind to nature and take as little as possible from the planet and replenish any materials that are used. There is definitely a feeling of satisfaction as well, in the fact that you can supply your everyday needs naturally if you put a little thought into how you go about things.

Well help is at hand, Sianos Writer and Nikk Huet have a long standing and award winning website, as well as a big chunk of mainland grid in Second Life, called the ‘Big Green Switch’. This comprehensive resorce gives you all the advice you need in respect of living a ‘green’ life and offsetting your carbon footprint.

Good news for SL Kensington, they have opened a Big Green Switch freebie shop below the DM&GT building where Nikk, Hibiscus and I have our offices.

Here you can get (literally) everything you want for an environmentally friendly SL home, including top notch free echo houses and color change modern furniture.

You can even offset your avatar’s carbon footprint, so you can be completely guilt free in respect of your Second Life, buy paying the guys from BGS to plant real world trees for you through thir association with the UK's Tree Appeal organisation. Here's how it works - a SL user purchases a set of 10 beautiful exclusive trees for L$3000 and 100% of the money goes into our dedicated Big Green Switch offsetting fund. Periodically, the fund is converted into UK Sterling and invested in tree planting schemes (as I say, via the UK's Tree Appeal organisation). SL land owners can also carbon offset their sim for a further L$1000.



The shop is well worth a look, the freebies are of a damn high quality, as you can relate all the SL freebies into things you should really be doing in real life, therefore making sure you are being kind to the environment in which you live.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Taking a Spin Around London!

I’d seen Ruskin Thor in his car and Seany1235 Blinker in his, both beautifully sleek sports cars. Rus even gave me a lift the other night when we went over to meet some friends in SL Mayfair. I thought this is the life, nice sports car, driving through the streets of London with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face.

Anyway I saw this car sales room in the ‘search menu’, it looked like a big place and very popular too, so I went over for a look, well I spotted a car quite closely resembling a Caterham 7 in racing green. It was love at first site and next thing I had paid for it and got the car in my inventory, deciding to go back to Hyde Park to try it out.

Once I got to the park I rezzed the car to the ground and sat behind the wheel, pressed the arrow keys on my keyboard and screeched off at 90 miles an hour, I was all over the place. I had no control at all, and to make it worse a newbie passing by managed to click on the passenger seat and next thing he was sitting next to me. I told him he had a cheek, but he ignored me as I hit everything in site, no tree was safe!!

I thought ‘I must get rid of the newbie’, as it was getting embarrassing, so I stopped jumped out of the car and swiftly put it back in my inventory, the newbie looked puzzled as the car vanished from under him. With that the newbie went off without a word. I saw my friend Drax Ember appear on line, so I asked him if he wanted to come for a drive and he said yes. Well I thought he might enjoy a spin around the park and that’s what it was, a spin, completely out of control!! Drax even had his shirt off in case I ditched the car into the Serpentine lake, which I came pretty close to doing.

I thought that driving in the London sim was a bit dodgy, having knocked into every tree in the park, going into the London streets might mean me knocking down houses too, so I said to Drax that we should find a Sandbox that I could practice driving in (a Sandbox is a public area where people can build things and use scripted items).

We arrived in the Sandbox I had picked, and off we went! I was worse than ever, I could not keep the wheels straight, trying to avoid other avatars in the Sandbox, but heading right for them. It was a miracle that I didn’t hit anyone. Then to my shame, I overturned the car and me and Drax hung there upside down, good job we had our seat belts on! I said to Drax that I would try to flip the car over so it was the right way up, and I was so erratic that I actually managed it, so at least we were upright again! Poor Drax had enough of me and my driving, telling me that real life was calling. He looked a bit green around the gills as he said goodbye, I hope he managed to keep his dinner down.

My next victim arrived soon after, Hibiscus Hastings my friend and co writer was on line so I asked if she would like to join me in the death car. She agreed and next thing she was in the passenger seat and off we sped. Hib and I usually talk ten to the dozen, but for some reason she was very quiet and when I looked her teeth were clenched and her face was white as a sheet as I shot along the terrain, twisting and turning. Then to my horror I spotted that we were headed for the water and I tried to put the brakes on, once again turning the car over. Poor Hib!! I carried on and ended up under the water. I tried to flip the car over again, but still ended up travelling with the wheels uppermost with us underneath. By coincidence Hib decided it was time to go back to real life as well, so I was left with my wreck of a car.

Later on I decided to take the car back into London and practice through the virtual streets. It was at this stage that I realised that any animation overrides that I had been wearing may not have helped with the scripts in the car, so I removed my walk animation and anything else I could think of, and I was very nearly driving normally, though not quite!! Hib being the brave person that she is came back on and joined me again and we burned rubber screeching past the Underground Club and taking all the tight corners that the sim had to offer. Trouble is, when I got my car out today it refused to work, it must be me, even the car is frightened!!!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Schedule for Underground Club Knightsbridge

The above schedule is for the Underground Club in Knightsbridge, until Saturday 1st November, and don't forget 31st October is the Halloween Ball at the Club.

Hibiscus’s Adventures in Wonderland (the SL Version)

On Saturday I decided to go out for a walk through SL London, as I have not been around much in the past few weeks and wanted to try and catch up with what has been going on. I left the office in Kensington and began to walk up the road towards Knightsbridge, when I fell through a soft spot. This hasn’t happened to me in a long while, but perhaps with all the work going on in the sim combined with some of the strange behaviour of SL lately, soft spots have begun to appear again.

Instead of tp’ing out I decided to continue my walk under the streets, which gives a completely different perspective on things. When I fell through the road I found myself in a large tunnel that looked like it was made up of small tiles, greyish in colour. At the end I could see a picture of graffiti, some concrete blocks, ladders that take you nowhere, water, silver coloured blocks and the edge of another tunnel or tube-like structure that ran almost parallel to the tunnel I was in. All very surreal. Occasional flying carpets would go by, as well as a small boat that appeared to be made out of aluminium. I walked to the end of my tunnel and then into the next tunnel, where I was able to catch the small boat. However, I must be too heavy; once I sat in it, the boat was unable to move, so I got out and off it went. Come to think of it, perhaps I have gained weight and that was what made me sink through the street in the first place, who knows?

At this point I was under the Underground Club (which seems appropriate) and could hear all that was going on in there. However, even if I flew up to the top of my tunnel and could see outside, I couldn’t get out, all I would do was bang my head on the underside of the road outside the club, so I wasn’t able to join the fun in there, not without tp’ing, which I did not want to do at that point. I wanted to see how far I could go. I managed to catch a flying carpet and sat on it for a while. I passed through an area with what looked like textures for marble walls and floors, and ended up in another tunnel with some very Warholesque pictures along the sides and at the end a photo of a carrier pigeon! This was like being in a dream.

I am not quite sure what happened next, but I somehow found a way of flying up and through another soft spot. I found myself on the edge of Hyde Park and Knightsbridge. I continued flying up and discovered that over Hyde Park were hovering a whole series of photographs, like an art gallery in the sky! Interesting and unexpected!

I tried to fly around, but this was hard because SL was really acting up. At one point I saw myself flying with my head on completely backwards, like in “The Exorcist”. That was scary! I zigzagged my way over the sims and landed in Chelsea, where I found three horses parked alongside some cars in a parking lot. After seeing that I decided it was time for me to log off. Hopefully things will be back to normal now, whatever that means.


Hibiscus Hastings

Friday, 24 October 2008

Interview with TXBarbara Bailey


The ever popular London Underground Club in SL Knightsbridge is going through a few staff restructuring changes at the moment, however, business is open as usual! One of the really nice things to come out of the reorganisation is that TXBarbara Bailey, who has worked as a hostess at the club since January 2008, has been promoted to Head Hostess, along with Sera who also works there.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara yesterday to ask her about her work in the club. Barbara, who is American, told me that she had first come to SL Knightsbridge and to the Underground Club back in 2007, arriving with a group of her friends.

I asked Barbara if she had thought of applying for a job in the club soon after. She told me ‘In the beginning I hinted that I was looking for a job and at that time never dreamed of being a hostess in a club... something I’d really never do in real life’. She added ‘Yes I'd never work in an SL club if it had .......... well the poles and that sexual side.’ I can see what Barbara means with this one, there are many clubs in SL that cater for the lower end of the market, however the Underground Club sets high standards and maintains a respectable status.

Barbara continued ‘I have had a great time meeting people and that’s what its all about. Loving music and a wide variety of music.’ I asked Barbara how she dealt with troublemakers in the club. Barbara comes across as being very confident, she told me that they don’t put up with ‘ugliness’, she said that you just have to say what the rules are and keep it light. She did say that some people who had previously been ejected do come back and they give them another chance, so it’s nice that people are given a second opportunity to enjoy the London sim, providing they behave themselves.

Part of Barbara’s job has been sales advertising for the club and she told me that she has many new ideas to put into practice. I could tell that Barbara is a good business person, promoting new advertising concepts for the benefit of the sim.

You can tell Barbara’s enthusiasm for the club from the way she speaks, she said ‘I love the friends I’ve made there’. She told me that she feels great with the girls she works with and has known one of them for 10 years (meeting previously in a chat room before SL).

I asked Babara if she would like to add anything and she said ‘to me, behind all av's are real people ....... and I do my best to treat them as I would in real life . That’s just me. Some say they play the game and I don’t really get that part even now, maybe this is the game pretending to be a hostess’ she continued. I told her that I didn’t think it was a game either. She said ‘that’s always been my point, even in chat......... they are real with real feelings and lives’ And I totally agree with Barbara on that, these are real people with real emotions that they bring into SL. That’s why Barbara is so good at her SL job, she cares about people and has ‘people skills’ to get the best out of them and make them feel good.

I can see a really bright future for the Underground Club and its team of hard working people. With someone like Barbara on board, with her ideas and enthusiasm, the club will continue to prosper and maintain it’s great success. It was also Barbara’s real life birthday yesterday, and I would like to thank her for taking time out to talk to me and wish her a very happy birthday.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Halloween Ball at the London Underground Club

You have probably seen the pumpkins which have suddenly appeared on street corners in SL London. There is a chill in the air now that October is coming to an end and the dark nights are drawing in. All over the Second Life grid you can see preparations being made for Halloween, the night when witches, spooks and ghouls take to the streets. Well SL Knightsbridge is holding it's own celebrations, make a note in your diary, because the London Underground Club is holding a Halloween Ball. There are prizes to be had for the best Halloween outfits, so you can really let your imagination run riot! The Ball is between 2pm and 4pm SLT on the 31 October.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Swords drawn in SL Chelsea

It started with a friendly chat at the side of the road! I was wandering through Chelsea yesterday when I came across two of the SL London shopkeepers, designers Cher Demonge of 'Bonjour' Boutique, and Albros Breda who has just opened her jewellery shop 'Cihuae'. They looked like they had been engaged in conversation for a while as I went over to see them. As I got closer I could see that they both held swords with beautiful jewelled handles.

Then to my astonishment, the swords were raised and they started to duel in the street, I could only imagine that they must have fallen out big time!! Cher had all the right moves as he seemed to dance around Albros, who stood her ground calmly. The blades looked like silver lightning as they flashed through the air, clashing as honed steel struck honed steel. What had got into these two, I could only guess, but it looked serious!
Although it looked as if Cher was running rings around Albros, she defended every move, as Cher's sword glanced off of hers. She had been biding her time though. Then, when I least expected it, she lunged forward delivering a fatal blow to poor Cher, who fell backwards as the cold steel pierced his heart. Cher lay prone on the floor as Albros stood triumphantly over him.

Then all was well, Cher returned to his feet, apparently unscathed, and I joined them as they stood smiling. This is Second Life you see, where all things are possible, yes you can play sword fighting and any other combat games, it's a lot of fun.

The swords are actually made by Albros and she has done a lovely job, they are a work of art, carefully crafted with jewels, and the sort of thing worn as a dress sword, that would enhance any second life uniform or period dress. I asked Albros if she would make me an ornamental dagger, which she agreed to do. I wondered if Albros was going to have the sword and other decorative weapons for sale in her store and she said that she would consider this.

I'm glad that Cher and Albros are the best of friends, and it was probably a little bit of SL history I was watching, the first duel in a London sim, perhaps the London Managers should set up a duelling site in Hyde Park, how romantic to have some brave avatar defending your honour, as the sun rises over the trees, on a misty morning in the park.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Freebie Shop Opened In Chelsea

One of the lovely things about Second Life is that people give away free items. Many avatars manage to exist without buying Linden Dollars, they usually earn a little bit of money now and again by camping (sitting or dancing somewhere where they can earn money according to the amount of time they spend at the camping site, although this is time consuming and very small amounts are earned). So the best thing for these avatars are the 'freebie' shops which are numerous throughout the grid. Newbies particulary benefit from these shops and the rest of us still find it fun to seek out quality free items.

Well the good news is that a freebie shop has opened in our very own SL Chelsea. It's called '3 For All' and is located just a short walk from the embankment. I checked it out yesterday and the items are made to a high standard, so it's well worth a look!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Virtual World Interacts With Real World

The real world and the virtual world overlapped yesterday as a real life gathering at the Greyhound Pub in Kensington, W8 was linked to the virtual Greyhound Pub in SL Kensington. Fellow reporter Hibiscus Hastings and I went over to the virtual pub at 6pm (GMT) 10am (SLT), where several avatars, including Terry Lightfoot, Elizabetta Westland, Chimera Cosmos, Tara Yates, Seany1235 Blinker, Gareth Otsuka and Diane Lohner had already arrived. Kwame Oh, the virtual Landlord of the pub, also stood there, but as we could see on the link to the mogulus website (www.mogulus.com), the real version of Kwame was busy in the real bar.

Although, from the virtual end of the proceedings, we experienced difficulties with the set up of the camera in the real Greyhound, which was positioned a little bit away from the tables where the group sat, we could clearly see a few of our virtual friends and colleagues, in their real life personas, crossing the room. We spotted Debs Regent, the London sim owner and Nikk Huet as well as Kwame, as they walked in front of the camera. Soon after, our real friends made the link with us, and with the camera in a better position, we were able to talk to Nikk and the others. MalBurns Writer also made contact to greet us all. There was a mixed crowd of people in the real pub, including representatives from the real life media.

The virtual pub slowly filled with avatars, as did the real life pub with Second Lifers. The real pub had been streamed into the virtual pub via another camera to the giant screen on the wall, but this did not work for everyone, Hibiscus and myself included. However we were able to see and hear very well via the Mogulus link as the evening progressed.

People began to cross between worlds as Nikk Huet (Nik Hewitt), Das Wade, Elrik Merlin, Cleo Charleville and Kwame interacted with us in the virtual bar.

The real life meeting was timed to coincide with the Virtual Worlds London Conference, which is to he held over the next couple of days in the Queen Elizabeth II Hall, Westminster.

It was fun for people like me, Hib and Terry who never made it to the real pub this time, and it looked like the Second Lifers in the real pub had a great night meeting up with their friends and colleagues as well as interacting with us.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Designer Jewellery Shop in SL Mayfair

Sometimes you meet a designer whose work is so good that you are just amazed at the skills involved to create such a beautiful product. Well yesterday I met Albros Breda, who’s ability to create remarkable designer jewellery is just stunning.

Albros had a grand opening of her new shop in SL Mayfair yesterday and Hibiscus and I went over to celebrate with her and to have a look at her work. The shop is tastefully decorated and she has her pieces of jewellery well displayed. Albros has single pieces at affordable prices and also sells sets of matching necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The designs are out of this world, so delicate and unique. I couldn’t resist buying something while I was in there, a lovely ruby and gold filigree set that will look fantastic with my evening gowns.

Albros, who is Mexican, first joined SL in February 2008 and said when she first arrived she was at a loss about what to do here. She told us she started learning all the building basics in the different SL Schools, and just felt more interested in trying her hand at making jewellery.

Her shop in SL Mayfair is called 'Cihuae', and Albros told us that it means ‘Hey girl’ in Aztec. All of Albros’s hard work has definitely paid off, her skill is plain to see and I hope her first shop in SL London is a great success. If you want high quality designer jewellery for that special occasion, you need look no further than 'Cihuae' in Mayfair

Saturday, 18 October 2008

New Mayfair Underground Club Opened

The new Underground Club in SL Mayfair was officially opened last night, and the night was a brilliant success. The new Club, which will feature trance and techno music will appeal to clubbers who love rave nights.

Manager and DJ, Taliesin Silverstar, started the night off, getting everyone up and dancing. Then to celebrate the opening of the club, there was a guest appearance from the fantastic singer Maximillion Kleene. Max, who had sang in the London sim for the recent SLLondon Fashion Week, sang and played his guitar live, captivating the audience with his smooth soulful voice.

The sim was totally packed with people. I counted 73 avatars at one stage, and in spite of the lag, everyone had a great time. So now there are two clubs in SL London to suit everyone's taste, the very popular Underground Club in Knightsbridge and the new Mayfair Underground Club. So come into the London sim and boogy the night away!!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Roadworks in SL Chelsea

You just wouldn't believe that some of the things that you have to put up with in the real world can be carried over into Second Life would you! Well, if you had been driving your virtual car through Chelsea today, you would be rather peeved at the hold up.
There are signs blocking the roads, where an avatar workman is resurfacing the carriageways and re-laying the pavements. A big job for one person you might think, until you realise it is top designer/builder Cher Demonge who is making the tarmac look really great and giving Chelsea a welcome makeover. Bad news for motorists though, I have spotted that the yellow lines are being renewed as well, so be careful where you park!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

New Club Opening in SL Mayfair

There is a new branch of the very successful Underground Club opening in SL Mayfair on Friday, 17 October. I have been told that this will cater for techno, trance style club music, rather than the popular, middle of the road style of the well-loved Knightsbridge Club.

Just for the opening night, however, the fantastic singer Maximillion Kleene will be making a guest appearance. Max wowed everyone at the SLLondon Fashion Week in Kensington, so it’s a great chance to catch him again at the new club.

The new Mayfair Underground Club should set a good balance against the Knightsbridge Underground Club, fitting the taste of people who like to rave, rather than enjoy the friendly laid back style of the original Club.

So that’s Friday 17 October, 2-5pm SLT, be sure to get there early, last time Max sang, there were queues of people waiting to get into the sim, so be prepared for a big turn out.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

New "Impressions" Shoe Shop

A new shop has opened in Chelsea, “Impressions”, owned by Menolly Reiderer. It is in the lovely little row of shops across from the Harrods building. I happened to run into Menolly while I was out strolling around the neighbourhood, so we had a little chat about her business, and shoes in general, a topic dear to the heart of most female avatars.

Menolly first joined Second Life in January, 2007. She took a break for a while and returned in June 2007. She says “I was a bit of a shoe fanatic when I first joined and a shoe with 106 prims was my first ever build. I was a glutton for punishment and I didn’t stop!” Clearly she has a passion for her chosen field. Menolly continued “After giving some (shoes) to friends, I was hassled by people who wanted to buy some of what I had done so it grew from there. “Impressions” has been around for about 6 to 8 months though I am only now really doing something with it.”

I asked Menolly what drew her to the London sims. She answered that “The London Fashion Week was suggested to me and I participated in that. I liked the area so much I asked Cleo (Cleopatra Charleville) about shops in the area and it happened from there.” Menolly had a kiosk outside the Kensington and hopes to participate in the next Fashion Week with a catwalk show. In the immediate future Menolly has decided to focus on specialising in sandals, as she says “there is a huge hole in the market for flats and they have been very popular”. There are also some boots in the shop and a small range of mens shoes, mostly boots and slip on shoes, as well as some businesses in a box.

In addition to running the “Impressions” stores (there are a couple of “Impressions” stores in other sims), Menolly acts as a mentor and also does custom builds. To celebrate the opening of her new store in Chelsea, Menolly is having a promotion starting on October 25th and lasting for 48 hours. Shoes will be sold at half off the regular price (not including the businesses in a box), so this will be a good chance to visit the new store and add to your shoe collection too!
Hibiscus Hastings