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Monday, 31 August 2009

Street Party Today!

I just heard that the Street Party is at 12 noon SLT (thats 8pm GMT) outside the Underground Club in SL Knightsbridge. There will be contests and all sorts of fun. Managers Brie and Seany have also put up a funfair in SL Kensington as well, so be sure you don't miss it tonight!!!
Janey Bracken

Spotlight On.......TD Reinard

Sometimes I am in awe of people in Second Life, and their achievements, this one gentleman has a talent that far outweighs anything else that I have come across anywhere in the grid, and you just know he is a gifted creator in real life as well. So I have the real pleasure this week of putting the spotlight on master builder TD Reinard! TD has been responsible for many of the great builds in SL London, and his eye for detail is astonishing.

I asked TD how long had he been in SL and where did he first hear about it, he told me “Back in January of 2007 I was stuck at home with one hell of a cold. It was one of those colds that wasn't bad enough to keep you in bed, but at the same time you couldn't move too much because your brain felt like it had separated from your skull. Anyways, I was at home looking for something to keep me busy but not too busy when I came across an email sent by one of my co-workers that had a link to SL. The email read something like "Check this out! It's some crazy game that you get to meet people from all over the world!" So I went and downloaded the software and created my avatar as I was sniffing and drinking my lukewarm tea. And that's how Gustavus Hapmouche was born. For some reason the last name made me laugh and at the time, I needed a pick me up, so I went with it.”

I wanted to know if TD was interested in building right from the beginning, he said “The first thing I did, which I think everyone does, is walk around and try to figure this place out. What is this Second Life? and then of course I saw the need to earn some money. Back then gambling was legal in SL so there were tons of slot machines and camping sites etc. Well after hours of sitting on some bench earning one Linden every 15 mins, I said the hell with this, I need a job. I searched the classifieds and started asking around but came up empty handed.”

I was curious to know how TD started building and how he found himself in SL London. He told me “I was out exploring, learning all I could about SL, and what it had to offer. I got caught exploring someone's house. I know (that’s) bad, but I was still a newbie, give me a break! Well I found myself in the middle of Xarianna Talon's living room (she was one of the first sim managers for London). She was very kind and we got talking about SL and I asked her a million questions, as newbies do of course. And of course one of the standard questions a newbie will ask is" HOW DO I MAKE MONEY?" haha. She asked if I had any texturing skill? And then the light bulb went off in my head. My 15 years of design and special effects experience in RL could actually translate into SL. So I said yes! And she gave me my first texturing job for the London sim, Knightsbridge. This was for a building called C5 which was code for Commercial Parcel 5 (Today it's the Underground Club).”

TD continued “I learned a lot about how to use the building tool in SL at The Ivory Tower Sim. A great place to get your building basics. That was 2 and half years ago. Been in SL London ever since.”

As TD builds such wonderful things in SL, I wanted to know if there was any that he was most proud of, and if it was sad to see them being taken down or altered. He told me “Every time I create something in SL I always learn for that experience. Each build makes me a stronger builder. So in a sense every build has a special meaning to me. I can remember what each build taught me and how I use that knowledge today in my current builds. I guess I don't have a favourite. I just love seeing the build evolve and change the environment. Each time you place a new build into the sim it changes the way the entire sim feels, and how people interact with the sim. Sometimes we have successes and other times, not so much.

As far as the life span of my builds, as long as the reason for the altering or removing the build betters the over-all experience I'm all for it. If when I see poor judgement and a disregard for layout, balance, scale and an over all misunderstanding of the overall picture is where I get a little sad. There is an art to this. We've all seen a lot of crappy half assed sims in SL. I do my best not contribute to them.”

Are you creative in real life? I asked TD, he said “I've always been involved in the arts. Music, painting, photography, drawing, theatre, etc. I have a successful RL career in motion graphic design and special effect. I have a degree (BA) in Design. I've lived and worked in NYC for a few years and I'm currently in Minneapolis, Minnesota doing advertising and design work for a post-production house.”

TD used to have a store in SL Kensington called ‘Gus’, I had bought many pieces of furniture and rugs there for my apartment, I really loved his furniture and I was sorry to see it had gone. I asked TD to tell me about it, he said “AH! the GUS* Store. That was my break-a-way project in SL. I wanted to do something that was all mine. I wanted to see if I could make money and support my own business. All I have to say is, that was a lot of work! Huge amounts of time went into creating and perfecting the store’s look and feel. The way the items were package and displayed. OH, and of course the product had to look good too. I enjoyed it but it was a full time job on top of an already crazy RL job. Unfortunately I had to let the store go. Maybe someday I can bring it back.”

I asked TD if he socialises in SL and if he had any favourite places that he liked to go to, he answered “At first I used SL for more social affairs. Clubs and such. Just to hang out, I met a lot of great people mostly builders and designers. There are some really amazing builds out there. I really don't have a fav.”

I pointed out that SL London seems to be changing all the time and asked TD what he thought about that, also how did he see the future of the virtual capital? He said “The goal has always been to make an accurate, or as close to replica, of the different regions of London. We still want to represent the essence of RL London in SL and to bring in RL business. Whether it's directly plugged into the sims, like the DMGT and the Greyhound Pub or if it's something the team gets involved in on a different sim. We've been exploring all options and opportunities. The bottom line is this...There is a challenge here that we have yet to conquer. How do we get the sims to pay for themselves? It's harder than it may seem. These sims have been up and running for 3 years, give and take a few months, and we have yet to get them to pay for themselves. We've come close on a few sims but they are still being funded by the owners. So we are constantly exploring new ideas. Trying to re-invent and better the sims. Soho is perfect example of the team exploring an idea that may bring us closer to the goal of self sustaining sims. We will make mistakes and we will have successes. That's just the way it goes.”

I asked TD what he thought of his work in SL becoming part of the history of 3D worlds, after all, we are at a time when the internet is changing rapidly from 2D to 3D and builders like TD have been pioneers with their builds, creating the environment in which avatars live. I wanted to know if he will leave any of his work to future generations like one of the first builders in SL, Arcadia Asylum. He told me “Wow. I'm not sure my work has that level of artist merit. It would be cool if one of my builds had sustaining power as such, but that's not why I'm here. I enjoy what I do in SL . It's like therapy for me at times. I don't get paid for anything I do. I'm not an owner. My participation is driven by my creativity and the joy that others get from my work.”

I think I can safely say that many people get joy from TD’s creations and I hope he is around for a long time in the future to build more. (Please re-think about opening your Gus store again TD!!)

Many thanks to TD for giving such a great in-depth interview!!

Janey Bracken

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Building Competition in SL Chelsea

Get your thinking caps on SL London people, Chelsea Manager Rails Bailey has set you a challenge, Rails has a secret project going on in SL Chelsea and is inviting eleven builders (first come, first serve) to enter the competition to build ……. well, I’m not too sure!! But it is apparently something that Chelsea is famous for!! There is a box outside the build area for you to put your suggestions in of what the build may be (putting your ideas on a notecard). As well as the fun of building you can win 250 Lindens if your build is the winner! So go and have a look at the project site and get in touch with Rails to register if you fancy having a go!!!
Janey Bracken

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Bank Holiday in SL London

I have just been looking around the London sims and it's going to be a very lively Bank Holiday Weekend in the virtual capital. We have the live Soho concert, which starts tonight at 3pm (SLT) (thats 11pm GMT) and if you fancy getting in the mood there is a great contest at the Mayhem club for 'Best in Hats' which starts at noon (SLT) (thats 8pm GMT).

On Sunday at 11am (SLT) (thats 7pm (GMT) it's the official opening of the new Chelsea Jazz Club, so don't forget to get your glad rags on for that one!! Then on Bank Holiday Monday there is to be a Street Party outside the Underground Club and I also heard that Knightsbridge and Mayfair may be holding a Carnival too, but I will try to verify this tomorrow with the times etc.

Looks like SL London is the place to be over the Holiday Weekend!!

Janey Bracken

What a Carry On!

Female pulses were sent racing by George Cloony wannabes at a Doctor and Nurse themed event in the Underground Club, Knightsbridge, on Tuesday.

Male blood pressures also reached danger levels as 'naughty nurses' demonstrated their bedside skills.

In charge of the ER was DJ Dr RedStar, Head Nurse cutewillow was hosting and best costume winner was Princess.
The prognosis is good, the patient survived.

Ed Follet

Friday, 28 August 2009

Garden Café Opening Party

On Sunday, Aug. 24, the newly redecorated Garden Café officially opened its doors. Avatars were warmly welcomed by manager and decorator Eveshka Blackheart who encouraged everyone present to rezz a motor bike. Fortunately the sims were safe as Janey didn’t pick one up, but be warned everyone that that it is a possibility.

DJ Denny Martynov played a selection of rock and roll music from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, heavily weighted to the classics of the 50’s and early 60’s. Enthusiastic guests danced to music by Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis (of course), Fats Domino and many other greats of the era.

The new Garden Cafe is divided into three different sections. At the very back is a lovely green space with a shady tree to sit under and a 7 seas Fishing Pond at which you can try your luck. I caught up with Mayhem Manager Billy Arentire back there at the beginning of the party, keeping an eye on things and perhaps building up energy for the dancing that was to come.

The middle part of the café is made up of a large dance floor, which filled quickly when DJ Denny began the music. There is a floor and a stage off to one side, where Billy, nahiram Vaniva, Wiccy Shackleton and I all danced for a while after clicking on Billy’s chim. There are also dances available for singles or couples.

The third section of the café has 4 games machines, 5 vending machines for snacks and a cigarette machine. I was absolutely delighted to see that my favourite game, Whack-A-Mole, has been installed! The party was well attended my many SL London regulars and was a great opening for the “new” Garden Café.

Hibiscus Hastings

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Weekend Events and News

I have some newsy bits to bring you today. SL Soho is to be part of a grid-wide concert on Saturday, 29th August, and some top SL bands will be taking part. The event is called ‘The Hearts for Children Concert’ and it’s in aid of a little girl called Claudia. Claudia is 3 years old and has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. So far over 70 artists are taking part in this massive SL concert to raise funds for Claudia, who, because she is so young, stands a good chance of a full recovery if she responds well to the treatment.

I spoke to Soho Manager Menolly Riederer (pictured) who told me that this will be a totally free event and people will get a chance to donate money to Claudia. Menolly also has something else up her sleeve, a surprise at the event, but you will have to wait and see what this is, so make sure you get over there to join in the fun. So far the times have not been verified, but if I hear any more I will keep you posted.

It looks like Soho is getting ready to rock, so don’t miss it!! By the way, you have to be age verified that you are 18 or over to enter Soho, because it is classed as an Adult sim, however this is very easy to do. If you use your credit card to buy Lindens you may find you are already age verified, if you have not used your credit card, all you have to do is go to Second and give them your driving licence or passport number. Once you have given this, the information is not retained by Linden Labs after verification, so it is a perfectly safe procedure. See Second for further information.

The Phoenix Club in Soho has another great theme night on Friday, it’s back to school, so you can dig out that school uniform and see who can be the naughtiest schoolboy or schoolgirl!!

I heard from Knightsbridge Manager Brie Janick (welcome back from your holidays Brie!) that she, and Mayfair Manager Torric Rodas, are planning something for Bank Holiday Monday, 31st August. Think it may be Carnival time!!! Sounds like a terrific weekend for SL London.

Changing the subject completely, I had a call from SL London Director/Owner Das Wade to come over and see his new rental system. Das has invented the system and it is directly linked to the official SL London Virtual Community Website. Das will be able to check on the rents via the website, which is a big improvement to going around checking each property in SL London individually. The SL residents will still click on the rental boxes shown on their homes to pay their rent and rent new places, so there is no change there for them, but this is major improvement for managers of the sims so they can keep up in respect of which properties are occupied or empty.

Das is a dab hand at building and he is one of those rare people who can script in SL as well. He told me this morning that he may be starting lessons in the sandbox area for people who want to learn to build and script. I will definitely go along to brush up on my very poor building skills!!

All in all a very busy time for SL London and lots of hard work going on behind the scenes, well done SL London Team!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Welcome New Host Amourette

Further to Ed Follet's article below, I would just like to mention that Amourette Dubrovna has just become a new host at the Underground Club. Congratulations Amourette! (and where did you get that lovely hair?).

Janey Bracken

Un-earthly goings on in Knightsbridge

The Underground Club, Knightsbridge was deathly like a graveyard on Saturday night, but not in the usual quiet sense. THE UGC ROCKED !!!

Manager Seany and his staff laid on a well attended ‘House of Horrors’ themed event which attracted all manner of un-earthly beings to the 3 hour marathon. Over 40 avatars were present for much of the time with zombies, ghouls, spectres, you name it, even Freddy Kruger turned up.
The venue was cold, dank and misty with tombstones and freshly dug graves everywhere. The dance floor was awash with blood and some awful sounds could be heard coming from guests whose costumes were mostly repulsive.

DJ Jayjay kept disorder with Hostesses Barbara and Amourette making people feel unwelcome and everybody had a thoroughly horrible time.

Ed Follet

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Jazz Club Grand Opening Date

The new Chelsea Jazz club is having its grand opening on the 30th August at 5pm SLT (I will verify the time later if it is different). The club, built by Rails Bailey, has a new manager Ritzzie Aristocrat, well done Ritzzie! and they are busy hiring staff at the moment. Ritzzie has given me some of the events that are being held there when the club is opened and they will be as follows:

Mondays 8am -10amslt ( Monday Blues Chaser)

Wednesdays 8am-10am Slt (Wild Wednesday)

Sundays 5pm-7pm SLt (Snazzy Jazzy Sunday)

It will make a lovely changed to get all dressed up for a posh venue like the Jazz club!

I also have a list of events for Mayfair this week, tonight at the Mayhem club it’s best in ‘Most unusual Black and White’. Wednesday at the Coach and Horses pub it’s Karaoke night, then at the Garden Café on Thursday there is a motorbike race. (please check with the sim staff for times, none were available at the time of publication)

Janey Bracken

Monday, 24 August 2009

Ed Follet Introducing… Ed Follet

Hi, I am Ed Follet, the newest member of the Virtually London (lite) reporting team. I thought I would introduce myself because although many people will have seen me hanging around the SL London sims for the last 5 months, very few will know much about me. But first let me say that I am delighted to have been asked to join Janey, Hibiscus and Pixi.

Previously a flight simulation enthusiast, I was attracted to SL having heard about the fantastic creative possibilities here. I am very interested (but by no means an expert) in all forms of creative art. I am also interested in technical issues, particularly lag and its causes, but again I am not a technical guru.

I am keen to become a proficient builder. I have completed a few small projects - aeroplanes, not surprisingly, and a motorbike which I occasionally use to get around on. I hasten to add it is ‘worn’ not driven, so its top speed is the same as a brisk jog and it can't take passengers.

To start with I expect to be making the tea, sweeping up and doing other such dogs body tasks. As soon as I can be trusted, I intend to be out there, sniffing out the important stories in true news hound style. I hope to be able to add my own brand of humour and style and I’m looking forward very much to meeting you.
Ed Follet

Live Link Up Meeting In SL London

There was a meeting of real life companies in-world last Thursday. The venue was Northcliffe House in SL Kensington, an ideal location with its conference centre on the first floor. The meeting was chaired by Ozone Beck of Ozone Conferencing and although there were absences, overall the live ‘link up’ proved to be a success. Debs Butler (avatar Debs Regent) and Julian Sowu (avatar Kwame Oh) represented their real life company ‘Virtually Linked’. Others attending were Gannymede Loon, Pygar Renfrew, Iain Elcano, Ozone Robonaught and Peter Earthboy.

Ozone Beck asked everyone in turn to introduce themselves and explain what they wanted and expected from meetings in respect of using SL as a communication tool. The main aim of such meetings is to make contact and links with other businesses globally, as the virtual environment allows you to do. It is estimated that by 2011 approximately 80% of Internet users will be registered in SL and the people who were sitting around the table in Northcliffe House last Thursday are among the pioneers in respect of the use of 3D technology to conduct their businesses now and in the future.

It was decided that Northcliffe House was a better venue to hold meetings, as the chance of uninvited avatars dropping in was minimal, however, it was explained that parcels of land can be given limited access, thereby stopping any unwanted visitors entering the area. The majority of the people attending the meeting spoke in ‘voice’, which seemed to work quite well, as the Chairman took the lead offering each person a few minutes of dialog and introduction before starting the general discussion.

Debs Butlet (Debs Regent) is known as a legend for her pioneering work, bringing real life businesses together via the 3D SL environment, she has made SL London a phenomenal success in respect of this ground breaking venture. It makes me proud to be part of the SL London scene and I have been lucky enough to watch the fruition of Deb’s dream as it all happened!
Janey Bracken

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Party Tomorrow At The Mayhem Club!!

I told you a few days ago about the revamp of the Mayhem Club, well it has now been finished and it looks absolutely wonderful, I just had a grand tour by Mayfair Manager Torric Rodas and club Manager Billy Arentire who have put so much into this great new design.

Come and party at the official opening tomorrow night at 8pm (GMT) thats 12 noon (PDT). There will be a special contest too for best 'Most Outrageous Hair'! See you there!!

Janey Bracken

Great Night At The Phoenix

The Phoenix club in SL Soho put on another great themed night, this time it was a 'Bunny girls and Hugh Hefner' evening. Donning my bunny girl outfit (minus ears, they are lost somewhere in my out of control inventory!!) I arrived to see everyone enjoying themselves. It was a little bit like being in the Playgirl mansion, the ladies dressed as bunnies and men with their smoking jackets, holding cigars, all dancing the night away and clearly having a brilliant time. The music was great and the atmosphere very welcoming. The dance ladies on the stage were working well to keep the party going and they were much appreciated by the crowd.

Towards the end of the evening Ozzie Maggs, Phoenix club Manager and adviser, turned up to see how the night was going. Well done Ozzie, lets see plenty more themed events at the Phoenix and many thanks to Aisha Magic for the ‘heads up’ !

Janey Bracken

Saturday, 22 August 2009

DJ Mike Goes Live In SL London!

London Sim Radio were on the road tonight – literally, on the road outside the Underground Club, Knightsbridge. DJMike Umanga was presenting his ‘Dance Department’ show live in-world with visits to the UGC and the Mayhem club and Coach & Horses pub in Mayfair.

The show, which is to become a regular Friday night feature on London Sim Radio (2-4 PM SLT), will showcase the SL London nightlife with live streams from inside the clubs and pubs.

DJMike hopes to be able to broadcast live chat with the revellers so if you fancy becoming a radio star, get your self down to one of the London nightspots on a Friday night.

Ed Follet

(Editor's Note: Ed Follet is our new ace reporter and joining Hibiscus, Pixi and I, welcome to Virtually London (lite) Ed!!)

Friday, 21 August 2009


On July 24 Janey Bracken and I were taken on a tour of the new Soho sim, before it had been opened to the public. Our guides were Menolly Reiderer and Aeneas Beaumont. Das Wade also participated in the tour until duty called him away. After the tour had taken place Janey and I decided that each of us should write about the new sim since the opening of a sim is such a big enterprise and because this was going to be something very new for all the people of the London sims, whether staff, resident or visitor. As well, Janey is a Londoner born and bred while I have only visited London a couple of times and am not at all familiar with its different areas.

Janey’s first story on Soho appeared on July 28. Since I didn’t want to repeat what Janey had written, I opted for a different approach. I decided to talk with the sim managers to try and discover how they approached the creation of Soho and what decisions they made to achieve their goals. I first spoke with Menolly who told me that the team included an advisor, ozzie Maggs, who had worked in the adult industry in SL for a couple of years. Menolly suggested that I speak with ozzie, which I have done, and have written a report for CNN describing in some detail the adult industry. After this I talked again with Menolly to ask her some questions about the Soho sim specifically and as by this point the sim had been open to the public for a little while, to see how things were going.

On the July 24 tour, the first place we visited was the men-only gym designed and built by Aeneas Beaumont. It is a beautiful three story building with a gym, swimming pool, sauna, showers and bathrooms, all well equipped for every eventuality. When asked if there was a similar gym in RL Soho Aeneas responded that “it is what I think a gym & bath should be” and that a RL version would “perhaps (not) be as clean”.
Afterwards Menolly showed us the Phoenix Club, a chill out area, cinema and brothel room. Menolly said that “the idea is to create a top quality environment”. This, to me, was particularly visible when we visited the brothel room, which was beautifully decorated, tasteful and elegant. To quote Menolly again “even though these are brothels they don’t have to be low class”. The chill-out area also seems very low-key and atmospheric without being too in-your-face.

Following this tour I subsequently talked with ozzie Maggs and visited some adult sims. I then met up with Menolly a second time and asked her more questions, the answers to which are the basis for the majority of this article.

Menolly began by saying “Soho was chosen because it is the redlight area of London so that is the obvious starting point”. I asked her about the choice of places, the gay baths, the Phoenix Club etc. She replied “generally that comes from the layout of Soho ... we did a lot of research into Soho itself... Brewer St is the straight area of Soho and Old Compton Road is the gay area so I wanted to be able to reflect both. A club was the answer for the straight and gay but the gay also needed a place of their own. The Phoenix is loosely based on Madame Jojo's club in Soho. In RL that club caters for everyone and everything and we want to reflect that too. The club will be running amateur and "tranny" nights ... though we have yet to decide on the names of the events that will run on particular days. That comes as it is developed.” She continued “There are two parts of the club really the dancers who entertain and titilate without the sex and the escorts who cater for everything. A lot of people think that dancers are escorts but that is not necessarily the case. We provide brothel rooms for the girls which are stocked with top quality TNT sex stuff. Their clientele comes from traffic a lot of the time. The escorts also hire boards so that people can contact them and arrange a hook up. What we do on the Soho sim is provide them with places they can potentially meet people.”

I asked how one becomes an escort and how this side of things is regulated. Menolly answered “Anyone can apply to be an escort with us. The sim does have a guideline that we seek ... we aren’t freelance. Only people with the Soho callgirl or escort tag can come in here and work. If we had a freelancer come in we would ask them to either leave the estate or apply for a position on the sim we don’t just give it to anyone. They must be over 28 days old minimum and preferably have experience though those that really do want to learn are referred to Ozzie. She has the school to train girls should they wish to get involved. (ozzie’s school is called Waltzing Matilda) Dancers can be escorts but all escorts MUST hire a board to be able to work... no dancer can escort while on stage.” As well as female escorts, in the future it is hoped that there will be male gay, straight and shemale escorts, and possibly furries, as well. As Menolly says “we don’t discriminate ... so everyone is catered for”.

Other aspects of the sim design were touched upon. For example, some builds are “blank”, they are there to look attractive but not be used. This is to allow for some privacy when chatting.
The furniture in the brothel rooms is from TNT Corporation, as Menolly mentioned. TNT is an SL business selling furniture and accessories. People can try the furniture out and later buy it should they find it meets their needs, since TNT also has a shop in the sim.

Since my original July 24th tour many stores have come into the sim. Quite a few are old favourites from the other SL London sims, such as Nils Island store and Dollyrock. Dollyrock has a special line of clothing to be sold and presumably worn in adult sims called “Xtreme”. They have a striking advertisement facing the Phoenix Club, with the logo “Dress for Sex” and I find it very interesting seeing how businesses such as Dollyrock adapt themselves to their place of sales. As well there are animations and attachment stores, art and a skybox shop, to name a few.

A number of opening events have taken place, such as a tarts and vicars party at the Phoenix and the Def Leppard concert. Both of these were very popular and should serve to increase the number of visitors to the sim. More events are being planned. Soho is going to be part of a gridwide fundraising event for a young girl named Claudia, recently diagnosed with leukemia and now undergoing treatment. Claudia’s parents are in SL. Six major SL venues will be take part. Contact ozzie Maggs or Menolly Reiderer for more information. Menolly also said that there are plans for future collaborations with people in the music industry.

As well, some of the terrace houses will be furnished and available for rent, making them handy for those who want to have a home but not have to decorate. The interior decoration will be done in a variety of styles to suit different tastes.

The proposed cinema has been scrapped due to technical difficulties, and shops to cater to the music trade will replace it.

A lot has gone into the creation of this sim and no doubt there will be more changes in the future. It is a learning experience for everyone and it should be very interesting to observe what works, what doesn’t and how SL London will adapt. We’ll keep you posted.

Hibiscus Hastings