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Monday, 31 May 2010

Watch Out 'Arold Doesn't Get You!!

There is an area in New London that you don’t want to be hanging around in!! There is a rough looking character on the loose, and from his picture on the wanted poster I would say it’s best not to approach this man (as the police always say about someone who looks really dodgy!!). I had gone over to New London and there I was being nosy when owner Kat Kassner and Manager Laredo Lowtide came over to warn me that I was on the ‘less classy side of the river’. Hmm well, springing from the South East of London myself, I could either be offended or agree with them, and as it was I had to agree!! Laredo explained that he described this part of New London as “the more colourful part” which is really a good way to describe it. He said it is “Earthy, diverse, a little violent”. Well I eyed up the person in the poster and decided I would not approach him if I came across him after all!

Kat and Laredo are creating a community in their sim and they want the right mix of people to feel at home there. In fact with rents as low as they are offering, even the poorer people of the Parish could afford a house in New London. You get a 40 prim allowance for just 80 Lindens a week. Of course you have to keep your door locked and bolt your windows to keep the resident psycho out! They told me his name was Harold, but he likes to be called 'Arold so he has an excuse to make sure you never call him that again! Being that I drop my h’s occasionally, well what cockney doesn’t, I might have to be careful should I meet him! Loredo told me it was ok, Harold is one of the staff and is harmless, but then he added “Oh aside from the resident psycho thing!”

Over in the ‘classy’ part of New London there is a radio theatre and Laredo told me that they had a classic English production of “Star Wars” He explained that “most of the cast and production crew were English, so we’ll call it that.” He said “We normally have Doctor Who running there – we’ve been authorised by the people who make the Who audios to run them.” He said that the radio theatre was very popular, people like to sit down and relax and listen to whatever is running.

Whilst I was talking to Kat and Laredo we were joined by John Silverweb who, as a rabbit av, was in danger of getting his ears burned in the noon day SL sun and then I spotted Pony Admiral, but only just, he stood right next to us and Laredo said “He does have a vague resemblance to a novelty bin today” And he did, it was only that I saw his name tag that I spotted him. “No one ever sees me! That’s when I strike” he said menacingly. “Oh dear” I replied, “another one to watch out for” I thought! I think Pony is a good guy though, he never did get into attack mode.

So you don’t have to be a Doctor Who fan to be part of New London, you can rent a house and be part of a brilliant community or just go to visit, they have a fabulous club there too and lots going on, but watch out for 'Arold, oops sorry Harold, he definitely looks dodgy!!

Janey Bracken

Friday, 28 May 2010

Couple More Days to Enter Hangout Photo Contest

DJ and Club Owner Janis Short has a fantastic photo contest going on at The Hangout, Butler's Wharf, her new club! Janis tells me she has bundles to give away as prizes and you still have a couple of days left to enter the contest, which closes on June 1st. You have to go to the Hangout Club and take an atmospheric picture, dead easy with all those lovely poseballs Janis has scattered about!! If you need a bit of inspiration you can always try the photo booth there, it's a lot of fun! For more information contact Janis in-world!
Janey Bracken

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Metaverse London News Team Back Together

The Metaverse London News Team were finally back together again last night as our very own reporter Pixi Piers came into SL to see us. Hibiscus, Ed, Pixi and I stood in the DMGT offices in Virtual Kensington where we used to be based and it was just like old times. It was great to see Pixi, who has been out of SL for a little while due to ill health, and she plans to visit again soon. It was the first time that Ed and Pixi had met and we were joined by Kensington Manager Rob Fenwitch who dropped in to say hello. It was a fitting way to celebrate the blog's two year anniversary!

Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Virtually London (lite) Celebrates its Second Year

Virtually London (lite) is two years old this month. It was created by former Daily Mail Media Manager Nik Hewitt on May 13, 2008 (avatar Nikk Huet, Nik is now a Multi/Social Media Specialist in real life). Nik advertised for reporters to work on the blog, which would cover all things to do with Debs Regent’s wonderful London sims called Virtual London. I applied for the job and joined Nik on June, 3rd 2008 when he made me Assistant Editor and then Editor. I had my own virtual office in the DMGT building, (a copy of the Daily Mail building) in Virtual Kensington and it was an exciting time for me.

Virtual London had consisted of four sims in those days, one being the vibrant and very much alive Knightsbridge with its popular Underground Club, London tube station, complete with working tube trains, and many shops. It even had virtual buses that toured the sim, you could jump on board for a ride and if you stood in the road you were sure to get run over by a bus sooner or later, good job they were phantom and went straight through your avatar! I’d always loved Knightsbridge as it had been the very first London sim of them all, and I’d visited there as a newbie, being drawn to a London location in SL as I am from South East London in real life.

Kensington was very special and I thought the DMGT Offices were extraordinary, it felt like a real office and I interviewed many people there for articles. The Greyhound pub over the road was a mirror image of the real Greyhound and we had live link-up events between the virtual and real pubs. There was also the glorious Kensington building, a superb build by TD Reinard and probably one of the grandest buildings in the whole of SL.

There was Chelsea with its little row of houseboats and the Big Ben clock tower, which I also loved. Nik offered to pay me expenses for some SL clothes and things, but I opted to use the money to rent one of the houseboats, which I adored. Chelsea had a lovely feel about it; it was a great place to live. The very talented and excellent CNN writer Hibiscus Hastings joined me as one of the Virtually London (lite) reporters and she soon looked around Chelsea and told me about the new Imperial apartments that people could rent over by the wharf. Both Hib and I couldn’t believe how nice and spacious the apartments were and I decided to move from the houseboat into one of them, along with Hib who also rented one. Debs graciously let us have the apartments as we promoted Virtual London on the blog and Hib and I have so many happy memories of staying there, with newbies and sometimes griefers dropping in! Former Manager Seany1235 Blinker, and former London Greeter Manager Clive Hissop (who lived upstairs) were always coming to our rescue to eject unwanted visitors, but it was great fun!

Mayfair was perhaps the trendiest of the sims, it was beautiful, a place for galleries and elegant shops and a Mayfair Market. My first consignment had been to advertise the Mayfair Art Fair Month. I was asked to meet the artists taking part, many of them being established artists in real life, and I interviewed them one by one, my first real articles for the blog. I had been amazed at the talent of the people I was meeting and I still feel greatly honoured that I had interviewed them and been able to write about their work. Mayfair later gained its own club, the Mayhem Club and The Coach and Horses Pub, both of which proved to be very popular.

It was with huge excitement that Hyde Park was created at the beginning of July 2008, I’d spotted former London Manager Fennel Mimistrobell terraforming the landscape to make the lakes and green expanses of lawn, she had created the park in just three days and it was a tranquil and welcome edition to the rest of the hustle and bustle of Virtual London. Hyde Park was later to become a Gateway for new people to arrive in, as it still is today.

A brave attempt was made to introduce the more colourful side of the real capital into Virtual London: Soho! A good idea at the time and it had to be tried, but it hadn’t proved to be a success, mixing an Adult content sim with the rest of London at that time didn’t get the traffic, so Soho sadly was no more. Maybe the Adult classification kept the avatars away, but it was worth a shot.

I continued to cover the five sims, Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge and these were happy times. I worked with Hibiscus and then I met a lovely bubbly newbie called Pixi Piers. Pixi had something about her, she sparkled, her personality instantly attracted me and she said she would love to be a writer. Before I knew it Pixi had joined us and created some of the wittiest articles on the blog. Along with Hibiscus, who can turn her hand from serious in-depth articles to hilarious SL stories, Pixi added yet another writing dimension, bringing her special, sometimes wacky humour into a little real London history along the way. I am pleased to say that yet another great writer, Ed Follet also joined the team. Ed is a real relief to us females, he records things from a much needed man’s point of view and is a talented and gifted writer, plus his photography is brilliant! Pixi is still one of the team, although she has not been well, but she is on the road to recovery now and I’m looking forward to her working on the blog again one day.

Nik handed the blog over to me a while back and I have enjoyed running it and reporting on all things London. We try to expand all the time with interesting news and reviews and bringing other London based sims into the equation has been really good too, as we have seen some other remarkable and creative people bringing that London touch into SL. Spooks Blackburn’s Whitechapel 1888 is something totally unique and a place where people can learn about Victorian London with astonishing real life facts. Kat Kassner’s Doctor Who New London Village is an absolute joy to report on too, Kat along with manager Laredo Lowtide, has created a masterpiece of a new Sci-Fi London and it’s a paradise for followers of the cult tv series Dr Who, they must be very proud of their London sim. We have another great venue with Brie Janick and Seany1235 Blinker’s wonderful West End Club, along with Cutewillow Carlberg’s Union Jack pub where many a fantastic night’s entertainment can be found. The West End Club is one of the busiest and most popular clubs in SL and to have a pint down at the Union Jack and meet the crowd there is a must! These lovely people have the right formula and a wealth of experience in knowing just what people like to do in SL and the new sim has a bright future ahead. Dj Janis Short has just opened a brilliant venue called the Hangout, this is the latest exciting news for me as it is based on the real Butler’s Wharf in London which is near Tower Bridge, and it will be a sure fire hit. We will be bringing you an article about this very shortly, I love it there and think the Hangout Club has something very special to bring to SL, well done Janis!

Virtual London no longer has Chelsea, and I was sad to see it go, but it now has Westminster and a good community of people who enjoy working and partying there, the Green Man Pub is a particularly popular addition . Virtual London has been a turning point in SL, Debs Regent pioneered the way to bring real businesses into a virtual city and she has turned SL into an actual business herself with her company Virtually Linked. Debs had a dream when she first created Knightsbridge, she wanted a mirror image of the real London with a crossover of real life enterprise and she achieved this and so much more, Debs has been an inspiration to us all.

It’s been an amazing adventure for me over the last two years since I started reporting on the first four London sims, Virtual Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea (and later Hyde Park, Soho and Westminster) and each sim has its very own part in metaverse history brought to you by this blog, as will the other new London sims who we now report on. There have been many ups and downs, just like news in the real world, more ups than downs I’m pleased to say, but it’s all ‘news’ and it’s what actually happens. I’ve always welcomed comments here too, as comments reflect how people feel, if there is something that has to be sorted it’s best to get to the root of the problem and the only way is 'feedback'. Nik told me right at the beginning (thank you Nik!) that I needed to report on everything, not just the successes, and he was right, if people are unhappy about something and it isn’t corrected, they simply move on to new places. I haven’t always made friends by reporting honestly and openly about things, but I’m proud of the blog and our fair policy where people can give their points of view from all angles. We don’t block critical comments (unless they are very offensive without being constructive) and I hope people will continue to give their opinions, be it about the blog or about what is going on in the sims. At the end of the day you can only hope that people react in a professional manner if others do discuss things that they may not like.

What is the future of the blog? Well who knows, I just enjoy writing and meeting all those wonderful people who make up the population of SL and as long as there’s a story to record, hopefully I’ll continue with the latest news

Hib, Pixi, Ed and I are the Metaverse London News Team and I may even talk Spooks Blackburn and Boye Jervil into joining us, who knows (large hint intended Spooks and Boye!) and hopefully we will enjoy a future of reporting on all things in Second Life London in Virtually London (lite).

Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Jawa In West End Club and Schedule For The Week

Poor dj JayJay Seetan had to keep an eye on his tip jar in the West End Club the other night, a little character from Star Wars, a Jawa, was running amock in the club, circling the dance floor and running speedily over to the stage. The Jawa pretended to raid Jay’s tip jar, just for fun you understand, it was our very own SarahKB7 Koskinen in one of her many sci fi outfits!! I’d hate to say Sarah looked cute because she wouldn’t thank me for it, but she did!!

Club owner Brie Janick had a bit of a nasty fall at home in real life, and I hope she gets better soon, get plenty of rest Brie! Anyways Brie has handed me the weekly schedule for the West End Club and here it is below, please note that the times are SLT:

Tuesday 5/25

12-2pm DJ Redstar



2-4pm DJ Janis -Nahiram



4-6pm DJ jillbeth

HOST: Terakaye


Wednesday 5/26

12-2pm DJ Troy

HOST: Cute


2-4pm Dj Brie



4-6pm DJ Jillbeth

HOST: Terakaye


Thursday 5/27

12-2 DJ JIM

HOST: Amourette

Contest: Best in Fantasy Film Characters

2-4pm DJ Jayjay

HOST: Brie

4-6pm DJ **open **



Friday 5/28

12-2pm DJ **open**



2-4pm DJ Seany Modern Rock (TRIVA)

Hostess: Brie

4-6pm Dj **open**



Saturday 5/29

12-2pm DJ JIM

HOST: Amourette

2-4pm DJ BRIE

Hostess : Nahiram


4-6pm DJ

Hostess: :


Monday, 24 May 2010

IcaruS For Real Quality

I’m always shopping and I was looking around Virtual London to see what there was in the way of something unusual, there are beautiful clothes shops I’m pleased to say, (and shoes!!), so I get a lot of joy out of wandering around from shop to shop. Yesterday though, I came across something that was really different, a very sleek and classy looking shop called IcaruS. You could tell by the window displays and the sign that these are very professional and innovative people

SL gadgets and working instruments are getting better all the time and it looks like IcaruS are way up front when it comes to bringing SL residents the latest technology. A lovely watch caught my eye, the Triton Triple Time watch, it has three time zones on it, so handy for the diverse SL population, and you can alter the appearance to suit as well as different models for gentlemen and ladies being available. There’s a new fast way to connect to your favourite sites without leaving SL too, Icarus have a one prim board for sale that connects to twelve of your best social networking sites like Facebook, You Tube and Twitter, to mention but a few.

The IcaruS website states they are a team of “creators of multimedia and machinima in the metaverse primarily in the virtual environment of Second Life. Providing 3-D virtual products, pre-visualizations and presentations for educators and entertainment production companies collaboratively world-wide in cross-platform social networks” You can also buy some real life stuff from the website shop too.

Have a look at their brilliant shop in virtual Mayfair you will be amazed at the quality goods you will find there!

Janey Bracken

Friday, 21 May 2010

Formal Night at The Three Bells Pub

It was a lovely evening at the Three Bells pub in Virtual Knighsbridge last night, they were holding a 'formal dress' evening and everyone looked dead glam in their tuxes and evening dresses. I had been wandering past and dropped in to say hello, so I sat and watched all the people dancing and having a good time, Knightsbridge Venue Assistant Manager Samanda Renfold and dj Stavros Jolbey suggested I should join the dancing, so I sneakily changed my clothes whilst sitting there, hoping SL didn’t play up and leave me with one shoe and one boot on or something! It was nice to don a posh frock, and up I got to dance with everyone. Of course there were some fantastic dresses there, carole Ziplon had the sweetest pale blue gown with a full floaty skirt. Knightsbridge Venue Manager Rosie Haroldsen looked beautiful in a pastal mauve ballgown, and Freya Chester had the palest of pink gowns on, so delicate and it went so well with her blond good looks! Paradise Starship looked so elegant in her slim fitting satin pants and low cut black top and Aurora Habana looked lovely in her long red cocktail dress. Samanda, who danced with Knightsbridge Venue Host Christian Moeleneaux looked chic in a tux, whilst Christian donned a dress, a fabulous tier skirted gown of the deepest velvety blue. Petal Pawpad also chose blue and looked beautiful in her floor length gown. The guys all looked wonderful too, London Landlord and Manager Rob Fenwitch, ever the smart red fox had a silver frockcoat on and looked so cool. Bumper Huckleberry, Del Madeye, Stavros Jolbey, Tad Thespian and Mickey Northman all looked very handsome. I was joined later by fellow writers Hibiscus Hastings (looking lovely in white) and Ed Follet who was very good looking in his smart black suit. (us reporters don’t scrub up too bad if we have to go out on the town!!).

Evie Falconer dropped by and it was her Rez Day, Happy Rez Day to Evie!! And it turned out to be Rosie’s birthday as well, Happy Birthday to Rosie!!!

I had a great time, thanks Three Bells team it was a lovely evening!

Janey Bracken

Thursday, 20 May 2010

"London Bridge Myth Falling Down"

I was checking out Janey`s report about "Magnificent Tower Bridge" and came across the comments page where Janey said about missing out the word ‘Tower’ when buying London Bridge by mistake. This got me thinking, I grew up with this story but later on found out that is was just a myth. So I thought I would find out the truth and share it with you all.

In 1967 the Common Council of the City of London placed the London Bridge on the market and began to look for potential buyers. On 18 April 1968, London Bridge was sold to the Missourian entrepreneur, Robert P. McCulloch of McCulloch Oil, for US$2,460,000. The myth that McCulloch bought the bridge thinking it was Tower Bridge is denied by Councillor Ivan Luckin in an interview, You can read it here:

The bridge was taken down and each piece was numbered for the rebuild (No Rezzer in real life). The bridge was rebuilt and spans the Bridgewater Channel canal that leads from Lake Havasu to Thomson Bay, in Arizona. It is the centrepiece of a theme park in English style, complete with a Tudor period shopping mall. It has become Arizona's second-biggest tourist attraction, after the Grand Canyon.

Even though this is a myth about London Bridge, there have been con men that make a living from selling national treasures to gullible American tourists. Arthur Ferguson a smooth-talking Scotsman, sold Nelson's Column (£6,000), Big Ben (£1,000 down payment), and Buckingham Palace (£2,000 down payment) in the early 1920's. He found it so easy to con our cousins from over the pond that he emigrated there in 1925. He got to work straight away and sold the White House to a rancher for yearly payments of $100,000 on an instalment plan. His downfall was when he tried to sell the Statue of Liberty to a visiting Australian, who went to the police. The game was up for Ferguson and he was sent to jail. He was released in 1930 and continued his work in Los Angeles until his death in 1938.

Spooks Blackburn

(Editors note - Many thanks to Spooks for this great article. The picture of Tower Bridge above was taken at The Doctor Who New London Village owned by Kat Kassner)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Black Eyed Peas Tribute Planned for June 5th.

Here is a bit of an advanced warning to keep a date in your diary, the fabulous Black Eyed Peas tribute band will be playing the West End Club on June 5, between 2pm and 4pm (SLT), thats 10pm till midnight (UK time). I'm really looking forward to this one!!
Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A Little Chapel Where Victims are Remembered

Spooks Blackburn’s Whitechapel 1888 holds a wealth of information about what life was like in those dark days, well dark for many poor people who lived in London’s East End. I enjoy going over to Spook’s Victorian London sim to see what he has added, and I am learning all the time about life in that era.

It’s nice to be remembered! Most people die and their families keep their loved one's memories alive for as long as possible, but as each generation comes along, people are forgotten unless they achieved some sort of fame in their lives. If people meet a violent end and die before their time, it’s all the sadder for everyone involved. So it was for Jack the Ripper’s victims, they only became famous because of their bad luck at crossing the notorious killer’s path. All the same, they are rarely thought of as normal ladies who had families and friends like the rest of us, but merely working girls who had little respect from society at the time because of their way of life. Looking at the human side of these poor women is a kind and compassionate thing to do and maybe by studying what drove them to such an occupation can teach us about why they became victims in the first place. If only they had been able to take another path in life, chances and circumstances would not have put them there, at the wrong place and at the wrong time to become one of the Ripper's murder victims.

Spooks Blackburn’s sim is doing just that, looking at their stories, each time I visit there I learn a little more about those poor souls whose lives were cut short by the cowardly killer in those Whitechapel streets and alleyways, and in Mary Kelly’s case, her lodging house. Now Spooks tells of the funerals of each of the victims, where and when they were buried and who attended. He has a chapel in the sim with a plaque for each of them. It’s fascinating reading and although one or two of the victims had people who turned up out of curiosity, like at Catherine Eddowe's funeral, most of them seemed to have few relatives or friends in attendance. Large crowds had lined the route at Catherine’s funeral because of her tragic end, and the costs of burying her were actually met by Mr G C Hawkes, the vestryman at St Lukes Church. Her death was registered on October 13, 1888. You get a glimpse into the fact that some people have pauper’s funerals and sadly, in a lot of cases, people die without any friends and family who would have attended to pay their last respects.

A little warning if you travel over to Spooks’ sim after dark though, there is a rumour that Jack has made himself at home in the virtual Whitechapel and he goes out in the night looking for new victims! If you are very brave you can even rent a house there, Spooks has a couple of houses you can live in to get the feel of life in 1800's London, but don't forget to lock your door at night!!
Janey Bracken

Monday, 17 May 2010

Isobel and Gold's Store Gives Me Ideas

I sometimes get spells where I want to make stuff, not often, but I felt like that this week. SL is great for turning your hand to being creative, it gives me a real buzz to create something that I can use or decorate my home with. I'd been wandering around Virtual Kensington and spotted Gold Cazalet and Isobel Byron's shop near The Greyhound Pub when I got an idea to make a few plants to sell. Of course Gold and Isobel are very gifted people, they have filled their shop 'Kensington Creations' with some wonderful things. Isobel has some of her lovely garden items like her fountain, similar to the one she had when she entered the best garden contest a short while ago. She also has some beautiful stained glass windows which would look fantastic in any SL building. Gold has some real works of art in there, he has designed some spectacular gossamer wings, which many avatars love to wear. He has made some great furniture too, I particularly liked an inlaid garden table and chairs, which look like they should be in a hot Mediterranean setting.

I'll never be as good as these two, but I went back and happily made some potted plants to put in both our Trilogy shops (Kensington and Harmony Drift locations). If you want some nice new things for your home take a trip to Gold and Isobel's shop and if you want a brightly coloured potted plant, pop in on the way home and have a look at my afternoon's work!!

Janey Bracken

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Happy Birthday Seany!!

Virtually London (lite) would like to wish Seany1235 Blinker a very Happy Birthday!! Seany celebrated his birthday with Brie and all his friends at the West End Club tonight! Many Happy Returns of the Day Seany!!!

Janey Bracken

Love the Outfits!

It was another purrrfect evening down at the West End Club last night, I’d wandered over to see Jayjay dj’ing and Cutewillow hosting to the delight of the dancers in the club. Then I spotted some little cats dancing together. Marcy Sugarplum, Sondra Jarvinen and Honey Muggins, the three Neko’s were having a great time, their tails swishing around as they moved in perfect time. They never put a paw wrong as their ears twitched in time with the music. I even felt like sorting my own tail out from my inventory to wear, but it would have looked really dull compared to these cool Neko’s! Macy did an outfit change later on and looked brilliant in a red white and blue USA themed costume.

Speaking of costumes after Jay’s terrific music we all went over the Union Jack Pub across the road and I thought SL was playing me up as I spotted Sharon Scofield who appeared to have no head on her shoulders. I know sometimes SL does funny things to my viewer and I only see someone’s hair and shoes till I zoom in closer, but no, I zoomed in and Sharon’s head was still missing!! Then when I looked closer I could see her head was tucked under her arm! She had a beautiful white Tudor gown on and she told me she had been to a historical event at her place earlier in the day. Thank goodness, at least her head should be back on her shoulders when she changes, I think she may have been too near a Henry VIII avatar, no woman’s head was safe near that rogue!

Top Fashion Designer Nils Tomorrow looked stunning last night, she usually wears her own brilliant creations and this time she had a long flowing dress on, it was the sort of dress you would wear to a picnic down by the river on a hot summer’s day. I could just imagine myself in it, with my big picture hat and a glass of iced champagne in my hand, ooh stop dreaming! Nils told me that she is creating some long dresses now, so I will be going over to have a look at her store. The dress last night was so pretty it was a poppy print with a soft muslin skirt and Nils never fails to amaze me with her work. I might just have to buy some new shoes to go with one of Nil’s new dresses too, dirty work, but someone’s got to do it!!!
We had a great time in the Union Jack and Seany was there to dj, but Brie hadn’t been able to get on line, I missed Brie, as she is one of the most stylish dressers in SL as well as one of the bubbliest and nicest host/dj’s. I love to see what she is wearing, I think her and Seany are probably the smartest couple in the grid, always looking so trendy.

I felt quite drab last night, I have my favourite black jeans which I wear a lot, pretty lazy of me, maybe I should make more effort, but among this lot I don’t stand much chance!! I’m heading over to Nil’s anyway, that dress is playing on my mind!!

Janey Bracken