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Monday, 30 November 2009

The Greyhound Re-Opens!

There was a great party last night at the re-opening of the Greyhound Public House in Virtual Kensington. Although I reported recently that the pub had acquired a new Landlady, it seems that things did not work out as expected. Luckily our very own Cutewillow Carlberg, one of the most popular hostesses from the Underground Club, has stepped into the role and will now be running the legendary Kensington pub. The atmosphere was brilliant with terrific music and friends dropping in. Hotstuff Gothly, Ed Follet and Wiccy Shackleton all brought their guitars along for a jamming session, and Nils Tomorrow sang at the mic for us.

Congratulations Cute, I'm looking forward to a lot more parties down the Greyhound!

Janey Bracken

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Happy Birthday Clive!

Virtually London (lite) would like to wish Clive Hissop a very Happy Birthday!! Clive and Pink celebrated down at the Underground Club in Knightsbridge.

Janey Bracken

Friday, 27 November 2009

TimeLords of Virtual Mayfair

Dr Who, that famous TimeLord of the cult television series must have a job shopping, in fact he must have to search the Universe to pick up bits and pieces for his spaceship if he needs spare parts. Well he need look no further! if a handle has fallen off one of the Tardis’s controls, or he needs a new nut and bolt for his dematerialiser because it’s all getting a bit rusty, he can find just what he wants in Virtual Mayfair.

There is a shop called TimeLords of London @ Mayfair, London, W1, owned by Yoshiko Fazuku, which will be a favourite, not only with Dr Who himself, but with the many Dr Who fans who inhabit SL. Go along and see if you can kit yourself out as a TimeLord and travel through space and time for some fun!
Janey Bracken

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Crumbs! A Christmas Pudding Race

It was sheer craziness last night in virtual Mayfair!! I had read on the notices that there was to be a Christmas Pudding race at 2pm near the Coach and Horses. I sat chatting to fellow reporter Ed Follet in our office in Kensington and suddenly realised that it was a couple of minutes passed 2pm. Ed and I rushed over, and by the time Mayfair had rezzed the race was over. I just saw Debs Regent, inside a Christmas Pudding, racing off into the distance shouting out that she thought she had won! I tried to take a picture of her, but she was too fast, the pudding, complete with a custard topping sped off before I could get a shot in. Luckily Debs, Virtual London Director Torric Rodas and Coach and Horses Landlord Wiccy Shackleton had taken some pictures and kindly gave them to me to use (main picture above).

There was a lot of talk about who was the winner as we gathered outside the pub, and then Wiccy announced that it was Artemis22 Clowes, well done Artemiss22, it must have been a tough race trying to steer a Christmas Pudding along the street!

We had lots of excuses from the runners up, Debs said she lost the race because she took the photograph, or she would have won! Alt Lexington said he completely lost control and gave up! Eveshka Blackheart said she had lapped everyone, but took the wrong route! And spirit Bigboots said she got stuck in a rubbish bin and teleported back (those bins in Virtual London that invite newbies to search through them for gifts!). I think TD Reinard lost his pudding somewhere along the way, but I’m not too sure!

The fun didn’t end there, Torric rezzed a carousel and Debs and Torric jumped right on. Torric had it set on the fastest speed and we all tried to jump on board, I ended up on a giant butterfly and Ed, for some reason, ended up standing casually in the middle, watching us all zoom around his head! We all staggered off eventually feeling very dizzy and sick!

Torric set the carousel at a slower speed and people jumped back on. Torric had other ideas though, he had a running machine in the middle of the street and did some exercise! There were even a couple of deer running around in the road, it’s a good job we don’t have the buses back in Mayfair or there would have been some nasty accidents!
It was a lot of fun and I’m just sorry I missed the race, but Wiccy tells me there will be another one on 1st December, so I’ll make sure I am on time for the start of that one!!
Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas ...

You see the odd fluttering of snowflakes around Virtual London, and some frost settled on the grass verges. Some of the shops have some Christmas decorations already up (our news shop included!!) and Regent Street in Virtual Mayfair has the prettiest rows of fairy lights and the sound of tinkling sleigh bells! In the Chelsea sim you will find an ice rink roughly formed in the deserted snowy landscape, but you can have fun, as there are some free ice skates to be had at the side of the rink! A beautiful nativity scene can be found in Kensington in the grounds of the awesome new church, with Carols playing softly. Yes it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas already and Virtually London (lite) is offering L$500 for the best Christmas decorated shop or house in Virtual London. The competition will run right up to Christmas Day, so you have plenty of time to get those decs out.

If you want to enter just send me a note card with who you are and the SLURL of your shop or home. (to get the SLURL just stand outside your house/shop and open your map, then click the 'copy SLURL to clipboard' button. Then on your notecard use Ctrl V to copy the SLURL onto it).
You don't have to do anything else, I will come around to take a picture of your wonderful decs and you will be in the contest with a chance to win the 500 Lindens!
Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Debs Regent on Dating Show

There was a notice put out to the London group Sunday night inviting people over to see Virtual London owner and founder Debs Regent taking part in a Dating Contest! Well we decided to go and see what it was all about, so Hibiscus, Ed and I teleported over to The Dating Casino studio and we arrived and made ourselves comfortable. We were soon joined by Brie Janick, Pink Bachem, Billy Arentire and Malburns Writer, plus many others who had come to see the fun.

Debs was already at her place on the stage as one of the contestants, and the show was hosted by sexy voiced Lovey Foxtrot. There were three ladies and three gentlemen playing the game and Lovey asked them a set of questions, giving them a choice of answers to pick from. Then they had to explain why they had chosen the answer they had gone for. Debs was thrown in at the deep end as she was asked the very first question of the show, but she did well with her answers and was a natural on stage. It can’t have been easy with all the banter from the audience as well. The idea was to see which gentleman was compatible with which lady, at least I think that’s how it worked! And it was clear from the beginning that one of the contestants, Xavier Midal thought that he was most compatible with lady contestant Dilana Llwellyn as he hinted at this all the way through.
Dilana and Llwellyn won the contest and came to the front of the stage for a very long kiss as the audience cheered.
I saw Debs yesterday and I asked her if she had enjoyed going on the show, she told me that she had, very much so! She said that being the first one to be asked a question, she had no time to think about the answer. So Debs did really well and we all had a great time watching!

(The Dating Casino, Love Dome(66, 223, 752)
Janey Bracken

Monday, 23 November 2009

Nickelback Tribute Goes Down a Storm in London

The eagerly awaited Nickelback Tribute concert took place in the SL Knightsbridge Sim on Saturday Night to rapturous applause and cheering. Appreciative fans were treated to a medley of hits from the dynamic Canadian rockers who were on stage for over an hour. Thanks are due once again to Knightsbridge manager Brie Janick and all the SL London team who brought us another fantastic evenings entertainment.

After the brilliant Queen show last month and this gig, we have to wait only another 3 weeks for Brie to complete a fabulous ‘hat trick’. The Bon Jovi tribute band are booked to perform on Saturday 12th December in SL Knightsbridge at 2pm SLT. Surely not to be missed and with more gigs promised for Christmas and the New Year, SL London is definitely the place for die-hard rock fans to be.

Ed Follet

Friday, 20 November 2009

Flying Around London!

I've tried driving around Virtual London in my car, Hibiscus always says what a bad driver I am, but I don't know, I think it's her back-seat driving that puts me off, ok, I crashed into a few buildings with Hib in the passenger seat, but no one was hurt! I've tried my push bike too, but that's not as much fun and a bit slow, also I'm not that good with a motor bike, well actually, I was totally out of control with that, so I quickly put it away before I found myself in the middle of the Mayhem Club running all the clubbers over!

Well I may have solved my transport problem, I was given a 'Slea-Z-boy' flying machine to try out by good friend and inventor Alphonso Pidgeon, I am testing it for a few days before I plan to write up on its performance, which I will do in 'Our Virtual Trilogy'. I decided to try it around the London sims to see how it would perform and it's really good so far, so if you see a mad person zooming around the streets it's only me! The vehicle follows your camera so that you can zoom onto something with your cam and it takes you right there!

It does loads of things too, you can even rez a sky platform to build stuff and it gives you the ultimate protection against griefers while you are sitting on it. It also gives you the ability to fight back, but I have been testing that in a sandbox well away from Virtual London!

I'm still a bit dodgy at times, so sorry if I get too close to you, I am trying to master this as it's a great way to travel! Alphonso told me that even one of the Lindens has one, so I am in good company. Hibiscus will be relieved though, it only has one seat!
Janey Bracken

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Re-Development Of The Chelsea Sim

While everyone enjoys visiting Virtual London, there is a great deal work that goes on behind the scenes. Anyone exploring London would have seen that most of the Chelsea sim has been raised to the ground and the area has started to be re-developed with roads beginning to appear again.
I met up with Virtual London Director Torric Rodas and he told me that the re-developed sim will actually be joined to Virtual Mayfair. Torric said “most of our time is working out where our roads are going to be in the new sim and working exits out from this one (Mayfair).” He continued “We now know that coming out of here, at the top by Piccadilly, we will have Haymarket leading into Whitehall.” Torric added “opposite Burlington Arcade we will have Duke Street, but... I have to rename Dover Street in Mayfair to Park Lane for this all to work lol.”

Torric has been overtaken by his own success with Virtual Mayfair, making it an area that is full to capacity with people renting houses and shops, so he intends to have the same ratio of shops and business premises in the new sim as an overspill from the very popular Mayfair. Torric told me “wot we're gonna do is tidy up all the areas in Chelsea and get the roads in, so we have a working grid and then move it over.” I asked how long it would take before the sim is finished, he said “I think we're looking at least 8 to 12 weeks.”

The builders are TD Reinard and Billy Arentire, Torric said they already had a working map to use. Torric told me that although he is now a Virtual London Executive, he really enjoyed the salesman side of things “I teach sales teams now” he told me and said he wished he had more candidates to teach in SL. I would think anyone interested in making their sim viable would do well to purchase ‘sales courses’ from Torric, he has certainly the experience and expertise to offer advice on sim enterprise and management.

As you may remember, in the past we had a great deal of trouble with the roads in Virtual London, some were unfinished and others where a hotchpotch of textures. Well that is one thing that will now be sorted. Torric told me “at loooong last, we're standardising all the London roads, what Bill and TD are doing is standardising their textures too. They can use the same roof, but colour it slightly differently, and use it over and over. The result is that it will rezz much quicker for everyone. Its these thousands of different textures that makes everyone chug.”

I asked about the entertainment in the new sim and Torric said he hoped for one club and possibly a new pub type venue.
After talking about the new sim, Torric took me over to see a new courtyard garden in Mayfair, it’s a teleport landing area, (although you can still click on the map and land where you like if you want to), this little central area is a good idea, it has many of the shops and places of interest indexed there on the wall and it’s in a very pretty little garden with camping for newbies as well. At the moment though, Torric doesn’t have enough space to index all the shops and businesses that now make Mayfair their base. I can only say that this signifies Torric’s great success in bringing in trade to make Mayfair a viable and profitable SL sim, something that is probably quite a rarity in the grid. Mayfair well deserves its place in the Showcase pages of Second Life thanks to Director Torric Rodas and his team.

Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

One Man's Spam is Another Man's Chat

Someone suggested that they call them the ‘Hi’ group, yes the London Group Chat that suddenly springs into life as you wander about in SL. I must admit, I don’t always join in, but sometimes leave it running to see if anything of interest is talked about, and it amazes me that quite often discord sets in and people get angry with each other, or just one group member will want to cause a bit of friction with the others. It always starts off nicely enough with ‘Hi London!’ or just ‘Hi’. Occasionally you get something obscure like ‘Help I’m having a terrible time’ for the first line, then people jump in, dead curious to know what is wrong, and then kindly, actually offering to help, but quite often the person who asked for help doesn’t reply, keeping the others hanging on a thread to see how many people they can get worrying about them.
You get some who join in the chat just to be offensive of course, they start off just arguing, but soon result to using bad language and you just sit there knowing that a manager is going to put an end to their stay any minute, as he or she boots them out of the group and the happy chat among the others carries on as if the offensive person had never existed. One lady the other day had been banned from SL London and decided to try to plead her case for un-banning over the chat channel, I found myself feeling a bit sorry for her, as her pleas fell on deaf ears. She carried on and on telling everyone that she did not know why she had been banned and asking for forgiveness. It did turn into a little over-kill in the end though, as everyone, including me, wondered why she did not take it up privately with the person who banned her, but then again I suppose this wouldn’t bring the same attention that she craved.

The chats very rarely turn into ‘in-depth’ topics, and if they do I get the impression that some of the ‘hi’ or ‘where you from’ people aren’t all that happy about it, as they accuse the people having the conversation of ‘spamming’ the chat channel. I suppose the topic being talked about doesn’t appeal to them, so they try to stop it. London Group chat gets used as an emergency line as well with shouts of ‘Can a manager come over to Hyde Park, there’s guy with a gun!’ and other such distress calls, so it’s quite handy for that.

Saying I seldom join in is true, but yesterday I did and then wished I hadn’t bothered. The talk on this occasion had turned into an actual subject, they were talking about religion, a dangerous topic anyway in open chat, as like politics, people get fired up attacking each other over their individual beliefs. I just listened as they talked about God and his existence, then a bit later, our gentleman of Virtual London, Gerr Finesmith chipped in, changing the subject completely and asked had we seen the peacock that lives in the gardens at the top of the Kensington building, as it was worth seeing. No one answered him, so I did, as I had seen the fine bird walking about up there displaying his plumage, and he is worth going to see. After telling Gerr that I had seen it, one of the previous talkers suddenly attacked me verbally telling me to leave the ‘stage’ as I ‘suck’. “I do?” I asked, never having met the avatar who was attacking me, “yes you do” he replied. “Ok then, if you say so” I said thinking, well everyone is entitled to their opinions and if he thinks I ‘suck’ for one reason or another he can carry on thinking it. You can’t always be everyone’s cup of tea and I’m pretty thick skinned, so can ignore those sort of remarks.

I carried on a bit talking to Gerr then noticed that the avatar who insulted me was IM’ing me privately. He asked me if I had been trying to preach to the people in the group and if I went to church. I had no idea what he was talking about, as I hadn’t said anything other than talking about the peacock, and I told him that I hadn’t said anything about religion and was at a loss to see how the peacock had caused all this trouble. He suddenly swore at his own mistake, and I realised he had got the wrong person, and so did he! He offered me a blueberry muffin as if that would make up for it, it made me laugh though, I can only hope that he pays more attention to the dialog in future before he makes a personal attack in group chat.

When I first joined the London group, chat was not allowed at all as the manager in charge in those days strictly told everyone that they must not use the channel just to talk, it was only there for emergencies. How times have changed! But I think it’s a good thing, a bit of gossip and a friendly ‘Hi’ somehow makes the day more interesting and you do pick up some good tips by listening to other people, plus you might even make some good friends if you join in.

Did I accept the blueberry muffin? No, I told the avatar that I had enough rubbish in my inventory, adding to the 20,000 items was not a good idea, but I’ll cover another article about ‘out of control’ inventories some other time, which reminds me, I must delete some stuff, wonder if anyone in group chat has any good ideas about it……..

Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Maximillion Kleene and Tribute Bon Jovi in Virtual Knightsbridge

There's lots happening on the 12th December, so be sure to log into Virtual London for a great evening. The new Cafe in Knightsbridge is having a grand opening at 12 noon (SLT) (8pm UK) and famous SL singer Maximillion Kleene will take the stage to mark the occasion! Later on at 2pm (SLT) (10pm UK) there is the tribute Bon Jovi band concert, also in Knightsbridge! Director Brie Janick has worked her socks off getting all this ready and she promises many more gigs over Christmas and into the New Year, so a big thank you to Brie!
Janey Bracken
(PS If you read this article earlier today you would have noticed that I made the mistake of saying that the tribute Nickelback band were playing on the 12th December, I apologies for this error, it is in fact Bon Jovi, and Nickelback will be in Virutual Knightsbridge this Saturday at 2pm (SLT))

Monday, 16 November 2009

Grand Opening of Jazz Funk Club

Is SL getting really laggy lately or is it just me? I had a crashing time at the club opening Saturday night, nothing to do with the Jazz Funk Club, it was a lovely evening enjoyed by all, just me and my computer having trouble trying to take photographs. I crashed out every time I tried to take a picture! Luckily for me my friend Drax Ember was able to take some photos, thank you Drax!

The night opened with singer Reno Segall taking to the stage, Reno did a great job with his mix of rock and country music and people loved him, he made the first night go with a swing! The Kensington venue is ideal for the club as it’s an elegant and romantic setting with its Art Déco interior (once again brilliantly built by TD Reinard). Club owner Almo Skytower was there to oversee the proceedings and make sure everything ran smoothly, glass of champagne in hand, he looked very cool and relaxed.

Everyone had dressed for the part in their beautiful ball gowns and tuxes, I managed to come back each time to have a bit of fun. After the splendid Reno sang we settled down to some groovy streamed Jazz club music and couples and singles danced the night away.

I can’t wait to go back once SL decides it’s going to be good to me. Do yourself a favour, drop in the Jazz Funk Club and have a great night out and listen to some brilliant music too!

Janey Bracken

Saturday, 14 November 2009

A Night For Romance As Jazz Club Opens

Well at last I can tell you! the Jazz Funk Club in virtual Kensington is having its grand opening tonight!! I've had my dress ready for a week or so now, and I can't wait to see how all of you lot scrub up! so come on let me see if I can get some great pictures of you in your tuxes and evening dresses later this evening! The venue is just right and the music is cool, this will be the best Jazz Club in SL so don't miss the first night, it's The Kensington building at 2pm (SLT).
Janey Bracken

Friday, 13 November 2009

Memorial in Virtual Kensington

It's been the week to pay a tribute to our Armed Forces, last Sunday we had Remembrance Day and on Wednesday we had Armistice Day to mark the 91st Anniversary of the end of the First World War and the fact that the last three veterans in the UK died earlier this year makes it seem even sadder.

Yesterday I talked to TD Reinard and asked him if he had been building anything lately in virtual Kensington and he told me he has been working on a church. Later on I went up the road to see for myself what he had been doing and there it was, half finished, but already looking very beautiful, a church with the lines of a small cathedral. Just outside he has created a memorial for the Armed Forces too, there are a few poppy wreaths and you can buy a poppy to wear in-world. It's very well done, and very touching. The church is just amazing and when it's finished I can see that it would be the ideal place for that white wedding that people love in SL. Just think you have the feel of a real church wedding and then you can go just over the road for the poshest reception in the Kensington building. Kensington may become the trendiest place in SL to get married!

Changing the subject completely, a week or so ago I mentioned about setting your menu to view sculptie items in SL, as sometimes they don't rez properly looking like curled up spiders on your viewer. Well SarahKB7 Koskinen kindly gave me some more hints about altering the settings so that you can see everything. She told me that level 10 is the best setting, I had advised level 4, but Sarah said this is ok for small areas, but for wider areas a 10 is perfect, she also mentioned that when you clear your cache the setting reverts back to the default SL setting, so you have to set it all again, which I found happened with me. Thanks for the tip Sarah!
Janey Bracken

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Chelsea sim - New Beginnings

I loved the Chelsea sim, Hibiscus and I had lived in one of the Imperial Warf blocks of apartments there, enjoying every minute of it. The sim had seemed a peaceful and nice place, sort of elegant and classy with it’s park just outside of the apartments and a row of houseboats along the edge of the sim leading up to the copy of the very famous Big Ben clock tower. In fact I lived in one of the boats in the beginning and it was an exciting time in my SL life when I had just started writing for Virtually London (lite), so the old virtual Chelsea was very dear to me. It felt very much like a residential area and although never having a large amount of traffic, it did seem very much like part of virtual London.

Of course times change and people have new ideas, we woke one day to find our lovely park was being taken apart to save on prims, spoiling the whole thing, then some of the houses were being turned into boxes without any attractive features, once again to save on expensive prims. The trouble with this is that the sim had to be attractive for people to want to go there, so it’s a fine balance between making sensible cuts and making a place look ugly. I would have thought that using the right amount of prims and having sensible rents would have attracted more people to live there, but then again I have always thought that about the rent situation. Instead of rents people could afford the rents in Chelsea went through the roof for less prim allowances, thus also pushing the remaining people out. The boats too had been spoiled a long time ago, for some reason catamarans took their place at first, which was a strange replacement for the houseboats, later even the catamarans disappeared.

There had been a little hope towards the end as a Jazz club was promised, but this again proved to be a compromise by putting the club in the low ceilinged fire station building. With the gloomy decor of the interior and lack of good Jazz type music, plus strange opening times for Virtual Londoners, there was nothing much to make it a success. In a way I suppose these are good lessons to be learned in SL, just like Soho you have to see what works and what doesn’t and chances have to be taken, but there is the old saying about ‘don’t spoil the ship for a ha’peth of tar’ in other words getting rid of the fine detail and solely cutting back is a none starter. Maybe Linden Labs should re-think their fees again, owning a sim is an expensive business for the majority of people and the ways to make money for the sim owners are very restricted apart from renting out shops and residential buildings.

So what am I getting at with all this reflection of the past glories of the Chelsea sim? Well there is a little excitement, a new beginning, gone are the ugly new houses and the strange looking park, no catamarans at all now float in the harbour and the depressing Jazz club has been raised to the ground! Big Ben still surveys all it sees I’m glad to say, and the Gossipgirl building and café have survived, plus one lonely house where, I suppose, the tenant doesn’t want to move out, but apart from that the sim is a blank canvass waiting for something brilliant to take shape. I am looking forward to the new area with great anticipation, I know the people now in charge will do a fantastic job as they already have the other sims doing so well!

But forgive me if I still feel a little sad for the Chelsea that it once was, I will always have fond memories of it and I still have my pictures that I took for Virtually London (lite) to remind me about how lovely it used to be before the changes came.

Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Tribute Nickelback Stage Set

I met London Director Brie Janick yesterday, Brie had been working hard to set up the stage ready for the Nickelback Tribute Band gig, and I can confirm that the event is to go ahead in Virtual Knightsbridge on 21 November. The stage looks amazing, it's a sky platform above Knightsbridge and there will be plenty of room for everyone. Brie told me that she will be having gigs in Knightsbridge right up till the end of January, so it will be exciting to see what tribute bands she will book!! (Nickelback poster in picture on the left supplied by Brie, also note the new Virtual Knightsbridge Logo, bottom right of the picture, created by Billy Arentire which is really brilliant, well done Billy!)
Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

New Cafe Opens in SL Knightsbridge

Exhausted by virtual shopping or festive revelry in SL Knightsbridge? The new UGC Cafe could be just what you need to revitalise. Drop in and 'kick back' with a coffee or soft drink, catch up on gossip and play pool with friends, or just sit back and listen to great music. The cafe is ideally situated in the old Knightsbridge Station entrance, right next door to the Underground Club.

Ed Follet

Monday, 9 November 2009

Mayfair Sleigh Ride

Hibiscus and I had some fun in Virtual Mayfair this weekend, it looks like Christmas is on it’s way, as you can take a sleigh ride all around Mayfair to see the sights. Hib and I jumped on board the one horse sleigh to the sound of tinkling sleigh bells and off we went. I know that my driving skills in Virtual London are quite well known, but Hib could have shown a bit more bravery than sitting at the back facing the wrong way! This sleigh was on automatic pilot, but I could still see the fear in the horse’s eyes as I climbed into the driver’s seat! Off we sped without having to do a thing, the horse knew the route and stopped at all the main attractions, such as the Mayhem club, Garden Café and Coach and Horses Pub. It was a lot of fun and very cleverly planned out by Mayfair Manager Torric Rodas and his team.

P.S. Just to let you know of some date changes for the Bon Jovi tribute concert and exciting news that we have a tribute Nickelback concert as well lined up for Virtual Knightsbridge. Virtual London Director Brie Janick told me that we have two provisional dates, the Nickelback tribute band will be on the 21st November and Bon Jovi have been moved back to the 12th December, I will keep you informed of any changes and times etc.

Janey Bracken