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Monday, 29 June 2009

From Bog to Sprog How Tweet!!

Nowadays you are taking your life in your hands going to the Underground Club for a night out!! You might get all dressed up with your best gear on, thinking how great you look only to get covered with baby sick or bird mess!! Yes the Underground Club is becoming more like a holiday camp lately!!

You might be given the bird if you crack a bad joke or two, as often goes on with all the regulars while they dance the night away, but to see a couple of budgerigars take to the dance floor is another matter. I have no idea where they escaped from, someone must have left a window open in their SL London home and these two got out, I think the owner ought to be up before the Beak for cruelty, he or she ought to take seed, oops sorry heed not to leave the window open in the future! On the other hand, these two little budgies did look sweet though, I never did find out if they were straight from Australia or were home bred birds (although native Australian Budies are all green, so these must have been true SL Londoners! Cockney budgies not cockney Sparrows!).

The UGC is also becoming a bit of a crèche lately, Truths Marder and truthsprincess Baramm brought their little baby onto the dance floor, and Truths danced with the tot on his arm. I kept a close eye on things and I thought I could see the baby doing some great moves! He was turning a bit green though, so I kept well away on the other side of the room just in case he brought up his milk and baby rusks! Next thing Trevor Rookstown and Janet Waverider brought their sprog into the club, this time Janet had the tiny baby in a hammock strapped to the front of her. There Janet was, dancing in the Caramel dance line with the poor little thing bouncing up and down trying to get some shuteye! Is this cruelty to babies or cruelty to clubbers? I’d like your opinion! Do we need a baby changing room in the UGC? Should there be a milk vending machine? Can I claim against the club to get the baby sick cleaned off my clothes? Only ‘kid’ding! I can only recommend turning the volume down and playing ‘Hush, hush, hush’ by the Pussycat Dolls if the tots start crying!

Then again should a club be a place for small children when you get some adult behaviour going on. A newbie called Boggleface (yes Boggleface!!) came into the club wearing nothing but red underpants and looked around the dance floor before making a beeline for a newbie girl called Jasmengirly. There was a bit of small talk between Boggleface and Jasmengirly, and then she asked Boggleface if they should sit down, which they did, in the chairs at the side of the dance floor. Not to feel left of out things Jasmengirly stipped off to her underwear. I wouldn’t mind but they sat in the corner under a list of all the club rules, which includes keeping your clothes on.

Ever watchful Brie Janick spotted them and gave them a warning, to which Jasmengirly decided to put her clothes back on and Boggleface walked out, not giving up his red underpants for anyone! Poor Jasmengirly sat alone waiting for someone else to ask her to dance or whatever she wanted them to ask her to do, as Boggleface called it a night and give his red underpants a wash and brush up for the next day.
All in all a normal night at the UGC!!!

Friday, 26 June 2009

A Nice Home For Newbies!

The location where we first set foot into Second Life can become special to many people, lots of whom return there because it is familiar and it is their first home. Mine was a placed called Murray, and on my map I pressed the button for ‘home’ which took me back there, I met my fellow avatars who had also used it as their base and have stayed friends with many of them.

I see that Hyde Park, in its capacity as a Gateway for new people to enter, now has its regulars who meet just outside the rez area (the rez area being restricted to people under 30 days). As it happens this is a nice area for a ‘get together’, there is the Dell café, which sits right on the river and the tables and chairs outside are a nice place to relax and watch the virtual world go by. Of course, with the mixture of people arriving, there are power struggles, even newish people are trying to lay the law down about behaviour in the sim, and I witnessed one newbie being told off for using a word the other person thought was a swear word, it wasn’t really that bad, but the discussion got quite heated! Quite rightly the newbie didn’t appreciate being ordered around by someone picking him up on so mild a word that he had used, but I suppose it’s human nature that some people will try to enforce their authority on someone they consider less experienced then themselves.

It’s a strange thing to witness, avatars claiming an area, some smug regulars enjoying the naivety of the new people and trying to impress them with their knowledge and control of SL, whilst at the same time, not wanting to give too much away, leaving the newbies in awe of them. Luckily most people do genuinely want to help new people out and we have some fantastic London greeters and some other SL London inhabitants who do a great job. Most new people click the ‘Home’ button on their map and come back to their first rez place for a while, till they get settled somewhere else, some might even keep it set to their birth place, it’s where they will feel comfortable and enjoy meeting their friends.

I noticed besides the Dell café, there is a free boat ride to try, as well as some freebie items of clothing in the café, I saw a newbie taking a boat out for a paddle, it’s a lot nicer than the harsh environment I started out in with an empty landscape and griefers running riot! (For those of you who haven’t tried changing your ‘Home’ destination on your map, go to the top menu, then ‘World’ then ‘Set Home to Here’).

For newbies who want to 'look the business' in their personal stuff, I spotted a great shop in Knightsbridge for people who want to get a nice profile picture done, it’s Razor Photos, owned by Razor Titanium, and he has a special offer for newbies, 25 Lindens will get you a terrific portrait. (He charges 50 Lindens to avs over 30 days old, but it’s still a bargain!)

Whilst I was in Hyde Park I spotted Underground Club Manager Seany1235 Blinker and he told me that they were having a ‘Best In Union Flag’ costume theme on Saturday night in the club, it’s between 2pm-4pm PDT, (that’s 10pm-Midnight GMT) dj'ing is our fantastic Janis Short. So get your outfit ready and come and have a good time at the UGC this Saturday!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Soho So Far and SL6B Opens

Last week I travelled to the outside of the Soho sim to see how things are going and I panned my camera over there for a look around. The buildings look very nice so far, and I spotted one club called the Phoenix, which, if it is based on the real life club, is a place where luvvies and artists gather late into the night and it may be a little deviant in it’s flavour. Is it the same one? we will wait and see, perhaps we may get some celebrity avs in there!

There is a shop, which looks like a hairdressers, called ‘The Clip Joint’. Now ‘Clip joint’ is an old name for the seedier clubs in the real Soho, where you could watch strip tease and be entertained by some dubious hostesses who got you to buy them bottles of champagne for sky-high prices. Later on though, this name has become popular for many hairdressers all over the UK, a sort of trendy play on words!

Real Soho is known for being an area for the main ‘gay village’ of London, and public houses, such as the Admiral Duncan in Old Compton Street, serve the gay community there. I noticed one public house under construction in virtual Soho, and that’s the John Snow Pub. John Snow was a doctor in real life who established that cholera was a waterborne disease, and the pub in real Soho is the site of the original water pump, which was the key to his discovery.

Quite a few music shops are located in the real Soho too, including Blackmarket Records and Vinyl Junkies, so I wonder if Debs will touch on these things for the virtual Soho. It would certainly make an interesting sim to have all these colourful themes.

Talking of themes, the SL6B (Second Life’s 6th Birthday) exhibition opened yesterday at 10am PDT and the London site is all ready for the rush of people!! I had a look a day or so ago (but for some reason I was banned yesterday and couldn’t enter the site, sigh! (I must stop all this griefing, it’s getting me banned everywhere!) and I noticed MalBurns Writer, Technology, Internet Producer and Technology partner Tara Yeats have a great exhibition next door to the SL London one, and this includes Mal’s SL London business premises along with the Greyhound Public house. They are running live 60 second broadcasts from there to find out what people think of the future of virtual worlds. So go along to have a look at the SL London exhibit and pop next door to give your 60 second opinion on the future of SL.

Monday, 22 June 2009

A Cloudy Start, But Sunny Time For Someone At The UGC

SL has really been playing me up lately, logging on and finding I can’t move my avatar and then Saturday night crashing and not being able to get back on till Sunday morning, then changing my clothes and finding I am ‘see through’ where my top should be, spooky or what? Anyway I read Second and they are having emergency repairs on the server, so I hope it’s all fixed now!

Talking about SL oddness, Hibiscus and I were standing in our individual apartments talking the other day and I thought the sky was a little bit cloudy, a particularly fluffy cloud kept sailing past our window, it stopped just outside, you could almost see it misting up the windows.

Suddenly the cloud spoke, first to Hibiscus, and then, moving up a floor, to me. He was asking how much the apartments were and if he could get one, usual sort of conversation, only not with a cloud usually!! When we told him he was a cloud he wouldn’t believe us, insisting that he looked suave on his computer. He sped off at what he thought was insult about him looking like a cloud and landed up on the roof. We sat watching him and suddenly he rezzed into view. He sat there trying different hairstyles until he found one he liked and decided to go visiting again. Elizabetta had returned to her apartment by that time, and next thing, he had landed at her door, only to be swiftly sent away, perhaps he was still a cloud to her, who knows!

I have no idea why some people stay clouds on my viewer and never rez whilst other people can see them, or sometimes they are clouds to everyone. I suppose it’s better than the old days though when people stayed grey blobs or rezzed without hair (scream!!!!!).

Changing the subject, if you do want your head in the clouds? and have been in SL for longer than 2 months, there is a sign at the Underground Club offering jobs for dj’s and hosts. You would be working with a great bunch of people if you get the job and working in the best club in SL. You can get the application forms from the board outside the club.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Spotlight On ......Isabella Elcano

I always believe that you have to have special qualities to become a successful host in one of the SL clubs. You have to have the sort of personality that people love and the gift of communication. I had a chat with someone this week who has these special traits, Isabella Elcano, Isabella is one of the hosts at the Underground Club in SL Knightsbridge.

Watching Isabella work, you cannot but be impressed with her energy, she never misses new people arriving at the door and gives everyone a friendly greeting, making sure they feel at home and know exactly what to do if they are a newbie to SL.

I asked Isabella how she had first heard of SL and what she thought of it when she first joined. She told me “I joined SL just after the New Year- I had just watched the episode of CSI:NY where it was featured, which is probably the strangest way of hearing about it.” She continued “I think I came in expecting it to be exactly like off the telly and it just wasn't, so I really struggled at first. Wandering around hideously in the pink spotty dress wasn't the best thing either :) But I met Dougal (MacMoragh) in Knightsbridge who attempted to explain how to get trousers on. I spent the next few days like that and eventually tried to sort myself out a bit.”

I wanted to know how Isabella found SL London, she said “I sort of had some basic idea of what I was doing, so using the search box wasn't difficult. I searched for London within about an hour of being on SL and that's where I met Dougal, who helped me a lot! I also discovered the UGC for the first time :)”

Asking Isabella if she had worked anywhere else before the UGC, she told me “I've never done anything other than host, but my first hosting job was at PIER, right before it closed down. It was a great place and I had a lot of fun.” I asked her how she came to chose the UGC and eventually get a job there, she said “The UGC was the first, and for a while only, club that I visited and the hosts there were always brilliant. I asked about a job, but stood no chance as I was about a week old lol. It's since then that I wanted to do something like that.” So we are really lucky that Isabella stayed and landed the job that she had wanted to do!

I watched Isabella greeting a newbie girl last week and I was really impressed with her kindness and patience as she talked the girl through a few instructions on how to dance and get her music stream working. I asked Isabella if she enjoyed the experience of helping new people, she told me “A shift is always interesting when you have someone to help. As a very newbie orientated place, the UGC offers many challenges as far as they are concerned. As for my overall view of them, I think that everyone should be accommodating and helpful towards newbies, as long as they are in return. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.” And what about awkward people who misbehave? I asked, she said “The most difficult type of customer is someone who's ignorant. You can be trying to do your very best but when someone just won't converse/co-operate, it gets you a little irritated.” I totally agree, some people do go out of their way just to cause annoyance.

I asked Isabella if she had any favourite places besides SL London that she likes to go to and she said “I spend a lot of time at The Mirage Lounge as that is where I host too. Just as with the UGC, I love it there and always have a laugh.”

SL is a place where people do make such good friends and some groups use the virtual world to create an extended family. Isabella is a member of an SL family and I asked her to tell me about her SL relatives, she said “So Suzi Gravois and Boone Blanco are my SL parents and Seth Burckhardt is my brother :) Octavian Cale also comes into the picture as an uncle and he is just as lovely. It has sort of become a very extended family, as Seth is fond of adopting other 'uncles'. It sounds completely mad and although at times it can be, it's also really nice. I first met Boone and Suzi in the UGC and then Seth a little later on. I think I sort of thrust myself upon them but they hardly ever complain :) Suzi and Boone own the Mirage Lounge, a club where I also work, so we sometimes spend time there. Seth doesn't come on here as much anymore, but we used to do a lot of good stuff with him. . I really don't know where I would be without them all though, they have helped me a great deal and I will always be thankful.”

I wanted to know if Isabella had any other career prospects in mind, apart from being a host, she told me that she is content to stay with hosting for the moment, but she said she would love to do some journalism, as that is what she enjoys in real life! I think Isabella would fit right into reporting in SL, and would make an excellent journalist, I have found that people who really do want to write are quite a rarity in the virtual world, and with Isabella’s enthusiasm she should certainly have a go at it.

I asked Isabella what she thought of SL London, she told me “You can have a lot of fun in London, though they keep expanding it so much that I lose track! However, the nicest people that I know, I have met them there and I'm sure that's the same for a lot of people.”

Lastly I wanted to know what she thought about the future for virtual worlds, she said “My RL currently revolves around education at the moment and although it makes coming on SL difficult, I always find some excuse to come on, so I reckon I will continue to want to be in this environment. I haven't experienced any other virtual world, but I think as long as there are people around the world wanting to meet one another with some degree of anonymity, there will always be a place for things such as SL.

It was a pleasure talking to Isabella and I would like to thank her for this interview.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Girl Power!!!

The Underground Club had been busy earlier, but gradually people left and there were just a few girls, Brie was dj'ing and TXBarbara was the host. Brie suggested that we join in the dance chim and gradually a few more girls joined us in the club, with not a man in sight!!

Soon we were dancing some really cool moves, all in time to the music and all perfectly together, such fun!! The talk soon turned to men and it was a girl power evening. Yes guys we discussed you all while you were away, from putting the bins out to mowing the grass!! We did what women do best we chatted!!

Soon the spell was broken as dj Mike Umaga came through the club door. Mike was a good sport and joined the girls in the chim. Soon we had eleven people dancing, I would love to know if there is a record for how many people can dance in a chim, perhaps someone can tell me.

Thanks Brie and Barb it was a great night!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

SL London Nightlife

It looked like the Underground Club had a bit of competition Saturday night, as the Coach and Horses public house in Mayfair had a special event to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s official Birthday.

DJ Shawn Hansome kept the evening running smoothly with his host for the night, Billy Arentire. They had quite a crowd packed into the small bar area, but everyone found room to dance and a good time was had by all.

I noticed on the following nights that Mayfair is taking it’s fair share of avatars who are enjoying the nightlife there, On Sunday, I spotted some of the locals from the Coach and Horses had spilled out drunkenly onto the streets, dancing and knocking back their drinks out in the road. A serious situation, especially with the buses running again!!

I thought the EU had stopped ‘Happy Hour’ in our pubs (they have stopped everything else!), but it looks like binge drinking could be an SL London problem. Who knows where it will all end, especially with 24 hour drinking encouraged by the government! The trouble is we haven’t got enough police on the streets to deal with it. I thought I saw one on the beat the other day, but it turned out to be a cardboard cut out of Gerr Finesmith, no doubt put there to stop people stealing the prims.

Last night the Mayhem club too had a few punters who were enjoying a dance. It’s nice to see Mayfair coming to life, whilst Knightsbridge UGC still has it’s regulars. It appears that the new people coming into SL London are developing a fresh community, just like real London, I wonder if there will be a bit of rivalry with the two SL London Boroughs.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Virtually London (lite) Changes

Just to let you know that Virtually London (Lite), whilst still continuing with the news and views from around SL London, will be updated three times a week instead of five. I will still bring you all the latest events and stories as I discover them, and hope you will continue to enjoy reading our pages as before!

Westminster Bridge in SL London

London Bridge is falling down, so the rhyme says, well lets hope Westminster Bridge is a bit tougher, as work has now been started on the virtual version, next to SL Big Ben. So far it looks really good, the detail is fantastic even down to the coats of arms embedded into the concrete plinths. There is a sign saying ‘Under Construction’ and I’m not too sure where all this is leading, because the piece of bridge already in place stops at the edge of the sim, so I wonder if there is another sim going to be added as time goes on.

The real Westminster Bridge joins the London Borough of Lambeth to the City of Westminster and the idea of a bridge met much opposition back in 1722 by the City, because of the loss of custom to the watermen and to the City markets, as they felt navigation would be impeded. However, Westminster had a fast growing population and it became tiresome crossing the river by boat and it was a long detour to London Bridge to get across. So in 1735 the bill was passed for the bridge to get the 'go ahead', and it became law the following year.

The bridge was designed by Charles Labelye, a naturalised Swiss engineer and architect. Andrews Jelfe and Samuel Tufnell were employed as master masons and James King as master carpenter. Originally planned to be a wooden bridge with stone piers, it was decided instead that Westminster Bridge should be built all in Portland stone. It was finally opened on 18 November 1750.

By 1810 Westminster Bridge started to show signs of decay and consideration was given to a replacement bridge. The new bridge was designed by Thomas Page in consultation with Sir Charles Barry and work started in 1854. It was finally finished and opened on 24 May 1862. The present bridge is of a Gothic design in keeping with the Houses of Parliament which stands alongside it.

One of our American friends in SL told me that London Bridge was being built next to the virtual Big Ben and I didn’t really think anything of it at the time, but I suppose because it is central to Parliament Westminster Bridge might be thought of as London Bridge by our foreign visitors. London Bridge actually spans from the London Borough of Southwark over to the City of London, and it has a more sinister history than Westminster Bridge. The real London Bridge had always fascinated me in the fact that it had been built with houses and shops on, and that it was a very populated area like any other main thoroughfare.

Disaster struck London Bridge on July 10th 1212, when a fire started in the London Borough of Southwark and people ran across the bridge from the City side to try to quench the flames. The buildings caught fire on the City side of the bridge because of the strong winds and sparks, which trapped people in the middle. People jumped into the water to try to escape, but unfortunately, many of the vessels that were trying to save them sank. Around 3000 bodies were found, not including the ones who were burned in the fire.

There has been talk lately of building a bridge in real life London with the same idea of houses and shops, and with today’s building regulations to make it safe, it would probably be a great place to live. That would look pretty cool in SL London too!!!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Bee Bop Night at the UGC

It was a real blast from the past at the Underground Club on Friday night!! DJ Troy Iwish and host TXBarbara Bailey (and later on DJ Janis Short and host BilliAnn Bravin) got everyone to rock their socks off with a 1950/1960’s evening. This seemed to go down very well with the clubbers, who came up with some fantastic outfits. The star of the show was undoubtedly Jaine Avro who had the biggest dirndl skirt on I have ever seen in pink and black, she had great detail too with her 1950’s hair and accessories, well done Jaine for coming first in the competition!! The Club looked great too, with two bright red Cadillac’s parked outside and inside a vinyl disc dance floor.