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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Comments in the Blog

Hi everyone, just to let you know that comments for Virtually London (lite) will not show immediately, but they will still go on very quickly after you write them. Due to spamming by an anonymous person, the comments are now being vetted before they are published. Don't be put off, we still want your valid and constructive views, good or bad. We will publish every genuine comment as usual, so keep them coming!

Janey Bracken Editor/Owner

Friday, 30 July 2010

Singles and Darts on the Agenda of the Union Jack Pub

Get ready to shake those ‘bon bons’ down at the Union Jack Pub!! Landlady Cutewillow Carlberg is having a 'Singles’ Night' on Mondays, so put your glad rags on and see if you fancy anyone giving those bon bons a good shuffle! Maybe some avatar speed dating is a good idea, that’s the beauty of SL, you can always tp away if your date for the evening looks a bit different once the beer has worn off!! On Thursdays it’s a bit of bully with a darts night!! Yes you can really play darts in SL and it’s fun, so if I were you I would sneak over and practice before Thursday then you can make out you are an expert darts player on the night! Fridays is, of course, Trivia night, like I wrote a few days ago, this is very popular and you should get there early to see if you can win lots of lovely Linden dosh!! The evenings may vary slightly with times, either 10-12pm SLT and 12-2pm SLT, however you can contact Landlady Cute to confirm!

Janey Bracken

Spotlight on ........Spooks Blackburn

At the beginning of April we were introduced to the Whitechapel 1888 sim when Janey Bracken posted “‘Orrible Murder!’ in Whitechapel 1888”. Since then Virtually London (lite) has re-visited the sim a number of times, learning about the history of that part of London and enjoying the atmosphere of the sim, so it seemed to us to be the time to discover a little bit about the enigmatic and elegant Lord of Whitechapel 1888, Spooks Blackburn.

Spooks first came to Second Life over two years ago after hearing about it from people he knew at work. He had had some experience in World of Warcraft, but found his first log on to Second Life “a bit of a shock”. Nevertheless within a few days he knew he wanted to open a shop and began to look around for a place to do this. It was at this time that he met Cliff Chesnokov, a mall owner with whom he became friends. At first Spooks sold “anything and everything I was learning to build” but “after a while I thought I would like to have a place to rent shops but wanted it to be a high street not a mall so Cliff rented me a small bit of land 2048 and I built Bucks Row.” (Bucks Row is the name of the street where the first victim of Jack the Ripper was murdered)

Cliff decided to have a break from SL so he sold the land to Spooks. However, the plots around Bucks Row were sold to vampires who caused trouble by biting people, so Spooks gave up Bucks Row and took a break from the Spooks avatar for a while. Eventually Cliff returned to SL and bought a sim. Spooks returned to his Spooks avatar and started Whitechapel 1888, which he had always wanted to do since the days of Bucks Row.

In real life, Spooks is from the East End of London. He says “there is so much history here but most people think of the East End they think of Jack so I started with him but also tell of all parts of life in that time.” I asked if he was particularly interested in Jack the Ripper and he replied “well I like the history and being from here you are told stories about it as a kid so I have always had it around me if you know what I mean?” but “it’s about how people lived at that time and how hard it was for most of them. My own family have been in the East End for about 250 years so they would have lived like that. Some people come here because of Jack but find out much more. Some like, some don’t, each to there own I say :)”.

He continued on “I don’t plan. I just think “ah I know, I’ll add that bit of history or whatever take(s) my fancy. To be honest I do it for myself because I like if others like it then it’s a bonus I think, but a dream would be to have lots of sims and have other parts of the East end like Bow, the Docks etc ... I have tried to make it with small alleys and passage ways and get the feeling of the real streets like when you walk through a tunnel you feel the cold of the tunnel and the sun when you come out of it”.

Spooks has certainly created that feeling. The sim itself is not large, but because of the tunnels and layout you can wander around, feeling as if you are back to Victorian England, getting lost and thereby making all sorts of fascinating discoveries. Not only is there information on the poor victims of Jack the Ripper, but also on some of the buildings of the time and on the way of life in general. For instance Spooks has created the Frying Pan Pub, part of Ripper history, but when you enter it you can find information on the matchstick girls and the first real strike in England. (go visit the pub to find out) And there are many other interesting corners to the sim. One of my favourites is a small market selling fresh vegetables, meat and ice cream (bugs legs, anyone?). But perhaps my favourite part is the beautiful Eel and Pie Shop. This is by far the grandest looking building in the sim, and a lovely place to sit and have a chat and a meal with a friend. As Spooks says “its not all bad news in the East End :)”.

Whitechapel 1888 is clearly a labour of love for its owner. Great attention to detail has gone into its creation, but even more, one feels the empathy and compassion for the people who lived in the area during the time of Jack the Ripper , which is really the foundation of the sim. It permeates Whitechapel 1888 and gives comfort.

So how to sum up a place with rats running over your feet, a few bodies scattered around, a police station, hospital and mortuary, a nice pub, some art galleries and a beautiful restaurant? Well, to quote Spooks “come and see it for yerself and make yer own mind up :)”
Hibiscus Hastings

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Travel Back to 1989 in New London!

I've just seen a notice sent around by the lovely Kat Kassner, owner of the New London sim. You don't want to miss this party! Kat says:

"Destination 1989: Tomorrow 1pm SLT
Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 10:49:55 GMT

The Time Travel Party tomorrow heads back to 1989, so get those TARDISes tuned up and ready for the short hop back to the era of the Stone Roses, Fuzzbox, Paula Abdul and Guns n Roses! Friday, 1pm SLT, The Citadel :-)"

Any queries please contact Kat or Manager Laredo Lowtide in-world. Also watch out in case you meet the mysterious spaceman, pictured above, seen wandering around New London, he may be dangerous!

Janey Bracken

Pink Joins the Management Team!

West End Club regular Pink Bachem has joined the Management Team as part of the Support Services in the Tropical Harmony sim. Pink, who is very popular with all the residents, has a wicked sense of humour and a warm personality, so she will make an ideal member of the team. Congratulations on your new post Pink!! Pink and Clive Hissop can be seen most nights dancing together in the West End Club! So let Pink have time to settle in and make herself a large cup of coffee and arrange her desk before you bombard her with questions!! Way to go Pink, well done!!

Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Live ABBA Sweden Are Awesome!

I went over to Virtual Hyde Park to watch a live tribute band on Saturday night. It was Abba Sweden and I must say I was really impressed!! The band sounded pure Abba and so smooth you would have thought it was an actual Abba recording! Looking the part too, the virtual group had really worked on their avatars to dress just like the famous Swedish legends, (although regretfully, due to lag Jesper Prinz remained grey to me!) Abba has proved to be so popular in real life that their music is still very much appreciated all over the world, and it has the staying power to be around for a long time to come! So bringing Abba music into SL is a great idea, as there must be many fans who visit the grid and are only too happy to catch their favourite music in-world.

I caught up with one of the band members Jesper Prinz and he kindly answered some questions for me. The band consists of avatars Greta Genira, Ewa Aska, Jesper Prinz, Erik Bruun, and Annabella Lundquist (Annabella had been unable to play Hyde Park as she hadn’t been able to access the full sim, which was a shame).

I asked Jesper if they were actually an ABBA tribute band in real life and I wanted to know what brought them to Second Life. He told me “No, we are not. We are far too old and ugly for that:) We have always loved music and doing shows and this with Abba Sweden's really just a distraction from our other doings in SL.” Jesper continued “Earlier we played in another band, but quit. But our appetite was wetted....We also needed to do something at our own sims, Icehotel SL, Sarek/Nordic Lights etc...and Ewa Aska came up with this idea.”

Why did they pick the group Abba to form a tribute band? Jesper said “We all are from Sweden and we all stood in front of the mirrors and mimed when we were kids... with the cassette tape-recorders on full volume!” I asked if Jesper thought ABBA was a favourite with everyone in SL, he told me “No unfortunately not, not yet! But we will conquer the grid!” Did Jesper think SL is a good place for musicians? “SL is a great place for people to realize their dreams, with little fundings” he answered.
I asked him if there was anything else he would like to add, surprisingly he told me “Well first of all we have to say that we are really disappointed at Torric Rodas who totally ignored our little, but all so humble list of requirements. But we will give him another chance and just because he shall not be able to escape from it next time, I present it openly here:
1) A private room in the stadium at least 200 square meters and with a closet that has room for at least 3500 pieces. Anna, Eva and Greta has a huge amount of clothes and these are more important than life itself to them.

2) All furniture must be white backstage

3) The toilets must be brand new and will be inspected before

4) Evil Eye lights that give protection against evil glances from parts of Second Life

5) Candlelight made of lemon, myrrh, cinnamon and tea.

6) 250 pcs white roses that fills our dressing room but also to match with the white furniture

7) Anna requires an iPod to the brim full of rockabilly, so that she will be in the mood

8) Calorie-free Japanese pixel crisps with fresh vegetables Ranch dip

9) Lodge shall not have air conditioning when the risk for colds is imminent

10) Oxygen on stage

11) Round toothpicks

12) New Zealand cheddar cheese”

So you see Jesper is not only a terrific musician, he also has a great sense of humour, at least I think he was joking, or ABBA Sweden may prove to be SL Divas to rival Mariah Carey! Get them what they want boys, we want them back to entertain us!!

Thank you for talking to me Jesper!!
Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Have an Evening of Fun With Trivia!

What is it about trivia that gets everyone excited? The trivia nights at the Union Jack pub are a smash hit, we all turn up and enjoy the dancing and the music, but mostly we wait for Seany or Brie to say “here we gooooooo!” and we know the next trivia question is about to be read out! Sometimes it’s a bit confusing with all the people using gestures and people chatting in text, as you look at the screen you hope to read the question really quickly with your fingers poised on the keyboard hoping you are fast enough to type the answer in! Then if you are anything like me, if you know the answer, someone either types it in faster or you make a typo and it comes out all wrong! I actually got a couple of questions right the other night, it was pure guesswork! But it’s such a nice feeling when Seany says “wtg Janey”. The regular crowd are great fun, they have a laugh and a joke as they have all got to know each other. Anyone new who drops in soon realises they are very welcome too and often remark what a nice atmosphere the pub has. Landlady Cutewillow Carlberg always looks after her customers and makes sure no one is left out. We even had snow in the middle of July last week inside the pub, it looked really pretty as the snowflakes came down, someone thought they would add flavour to the Snow Patrol tune that was playing at the time!

If you fancy winning some money, yes it’s 50 Lindens each time you get a question right! Go over to the Union Jack on Wednesday and Friday nights for a lot of fun and a few brain teasers!



Janey Bracken

Monday, 26 July 2010

New London Systems in Partnership with Hyperloom!

It will be a marriage made in heaven for SL product manufacturer Hyperloom and New London Systems, as they go into partnership to work together to produce affordable and high quality huds and systems for SL action and role-play sims.

It was a brilliant night at the Tardis Club in New London. The venue was packed with partygoers and I joined Kat Kassner and Laredo Lowtide to celebrate the merger of their company New London Systems and Hyperloom. Sinji Itokawa from Hyperloom took to the stage and made the announcement:

“The market is challenging and there are a lot of new companies out there, all of them working really hard to compete and producing some amazing stuff. To our competitors, we salute you and thank you for your efforts, they have forced us to work hard too. So we come to the present day and Hyperloom has grown rather long in the tooth. Frankly, the challenging nature of today's market has left a lot of us disillusioned and tired. I'd first like to say thank you. All those loyal customers who have supported Hyperloom over the years, you've been great. Your feedback and suggestions have been invaluable.

Today is a landmark day in the Who community of Second Life.

Hyperloom will be officially closing 90% of its operation in 1 week’s time. Many of our TTC console systems will be taken off the market in preparation for what comes next.

We are pleased to announce that Hyperloom is officially partnering with New London Systems and all future releases will be under the NLS banner with Hyperloom inside.

This partnership has been a long time coming and we at Hyperloom are looking forward excitedly to what will come out of this merged revitalization. Hyperloom's reliability and realism with the youthful exuberance and fun that Kat and her partners at NLS put into their product means that you, the consumer, get an affordable, roleplay intensive, realistic and reliable TTC system that does everything you expect from both companies, flawlessly!

In two weeks time the first new releases from New London Systems will include Loomed consoles and an updated Type 45 HUD that will work seamlessly together or as standalone products. Included in the consoles will be all the features you expect from Hyperloom, including rezzers, manual and notecarded navigations systems combined with the NLS features you have come to appreciate, like multiple flight modes and point to point travel; plus fun peripherals like the audiolizer, security systems and exploding consoles.

We would like to thank you all for coming and hope that you will stick with us as we move into the future as/with New London Systems and we'd like to thank Kat and Laredo and the NLS folks for this wonderful opportunity to work with them. I am confident that their drive and initiative and ideas will go a long way to making this merger a successful one.”

So this is a very exciting time for Kat, Laredo and Hyperloom as this partnership can only produce excellent results for all their customers. Congratulations and good luck on the new venture!!

Janey Bracken

Friday, 23 July 2010

Harley Street Oncology Clinic In SL

Checking out London places in ‘search’ yesterday I came across quite a serious side to SL that offers a service away from the usual social scenes and fun things. The London Oncology Clinic has a site in SL to enable their patients to explore the clinic virtually before their arrival in real life, giving them some idea of what to expect. You can take a tour by using the seats provided outside that wiz you into the clinic and scanning area, but I found going on foot was the best method as there are so many levels to explore. It’s set in a really nicely built copy of Harley Street, London, with some surrounding streets included. The London Oncology Clinic (LOC) is situated at number 95 Harley Street, London W1G 6AF in real life.

The notice provided states “We set up this representation of the London Oncology Clinic in Second Life so you could experience the clinic before coming here. We have tried to create a realistic representation of the clinic, which you can visit and walk around at your leisure.

Our goal at the London Oncology Clinic is to work with you, focussing all our expertise on treating your cancer, making you feel cared for and supported, and reducing as far as possible the stress of the whole experience.”

SL is used in all different ways and health and education play quite a big part. I hope this virtual clinic does help patients make it easier to step over the door of the real clinic, as they will have some insight into what goes on there. It’s an interesting virtual place to visit anyway for students and non-cancer suffering SL citizens too.

Janey Bracken

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Constable Hash Looked The Part and Whitechapel Tells Where It All Began!

The Police Forces in SL are very popular and many people like to be virtual police officers. I met a constable in Virtual London recently who was spot on with his uniform and he looked very smart. Hash Rieko’s uniform was the best modern day version I’d seen, his avatar had that clean cut look about it too and I was impressed. Hash was very nice and very knowledgeable about both SL and real life politics and we had a great chat, thanks Hash!

Over in the Whitechapel 1888 sim you will find a Police Station from that era which tells a brief history of Frederick George Abberline, a Police Inspector who was brought in to lead the squad in an attempt to capture Jack the Ripper. The Police Station is really well built, complete with wanted posters on the wall and you can walk through to the cells where a drunk called Smith is locked up waiting to appear before the Beak (Magistrate) for being drunk and disorderly!

Being drunk and disorderly would probably have applied to many of the first members of the Metropolitan Police (the very first Police Force in Britain), as many of the officers were an unsavoury bunch of people. The Met Police was created by the then Home Secretary Robert Peel who came into office in 1822. He introduced the Metropolitan Police Act in 1829, creating four Police Inspector jobs and a hundred and forty-four Police Constable posts across 17 areas (divisions) of London. The policemen were nicknamed Peelers or Bobbies after Robert Peel and their uniform consisted of a long navy blue coat and a tall hat (the hat could be used to stand on to see over walls!). They were supplied with a wooden truncheon as a weapon to keep control. The police were very unpopular as many were drunks and bullies and the first officer to be taken on was sacked after only 4 hours for being legless. Only 600 officers kept their jobs from the 2,800 recruited. Over the decades however the Metropolitan Police became a fine example of how a police force should be, gaining admiration and respect from all over the world.

Frederick George Abberline never did catch the Ripper, but you can go over and see what an 1888 police station looked like and don’t forget, if a Peeler sees you are drunk and disorderly you could end up with poor old Smith waiting for his punishment from the Beak!

Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

More Food!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my search for sustenance in the Virtual London sims. I found that to be an interesting way of discovering the sim and decided to expand my search area, and possibly my waistline, to some of the other London-related sims in Second Life.

First off I started near our office in the New London sim and by following my nose I happened upon freshly roasted chestnuts! They were delicious and a perfect snack for anyone who wants to drop by our shop and play Truthball.
Next I tp’d over to Little London and discovered a feast. Food is everywhere in this sim. At some of the street carts I found doughnuts (yum), hotdogs and fish and chips. Continuing on I came to Eddie’s Cafe, so I went in and had a bowl of soup. They have a big choice at Eddie’s, so you can have much more than soup. However, I thought something light and nourishing would be better for me after all the fried foods I had been eating.

Down the road I popped into a small supermarket and picked up a few supplies, including a chocolate bar, bag of something called soylent green snacks, and some bubble gum. They also have available a “suspicious burrito” and it is suspicious, so I would avoid that next time and should suggest that our readers choose something else, at least if they are going to be in company while they are eating. On my way out I grabbed a box of cereal to have back at home.

Finally I ended up at Whitechapel 1888 and found a quite magnificent looking Eel and Pie House. This is a newly opened establishment and has lots of atmosphere. There is beautiful inlay work decorating the booths as well as very attractive tile work in the rest of the restaurant, particularly around the top of the walls. Food is quite hearty, as one would expect. I had pie, mash and liquor, as well as jellied eel. I later returned with my friend Boye, it’s a nice place for a meal and a chat.

Hibiscus Hastings