plus ça change

plus-ca-change

Furillen moved into a new region this week, so if you haven’t done so already, reset your landmarks to here. The move was simply a question of giving ourselves more scope to expand, with more prims to exploit (20,000, rather than 5,000), and for events, a higher avatar limit (100, rather than 20). Having ‘relaunched’ Furillen in early January with a major new layout including the hotel, fishing huts and pergola on the hill, I resisted the temptation to make further changes now. So the sim was simply replicated, and for a few days I had a the slightly bizarre experience of teleporting between two sims that were exactly the same … so much so that at once stage I began putting things back at the old sim, mistaking it for the new one.

There are, of course, some very small changes, but you’d need to have quite an eye for detail to spot them. No doubt somebody will!

So … what next?

The first priority is to close La Digue du Braek. I won’t be writing sad epitaphs for the sim, and we won’t be holding a ‘goodbye Digue’ party, as SLers are sometimes wont to do. Digue started quietly and it will end quietly (and we’ll be stealing bits of it for Furillen). The Flickr pool speaks for itself : well over a thousand pictures from 241 members in less than three months.

I always wondered about how the two sims would interact, and it was fascinating to watch. For a while we thought that Digue was going to overtake Furillen and it would be the latter that we’d have to close … but Furillen has an incredibly dedicated following, and for whatever reason the sim appears to draw in a steady stream of visitors who stay at the sim for long periods of time, day in day out. So when it came to deciding which sim to let go while we ‘re-allocate’ resources, it was a no brainer.

Furillen has changed a lot during the seventeen months of its life. It appeared quietly, with no big announcements, and grew partly because of the incredibly strong Flickr group – great photography is still a major feature of the sim, and the flow of pictures has never dried up. Then there have been popular (and, in their scale, quite unusual) events – weekends devoted to Bowie, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd when the entire sim was transformed, and the recent Star Wars rebuilds we staged over the winter vacation.

An important truth about these events was that I like building and designing sims best of all, so any excuse to rip things up and rebuild is welcome. I don’t see the point of having a sim and just letting it stand, unchanged …

There were photo competitions, parties, and a bar – all great fun, but they involved more work than I can realistically do given my real life commitments. So, more recently, Furillen has settled into just being itself, and I must say that I like it best this way.

Having said this, we all like to tinker and the sim will doubtless see more changes in the coming months, and – quite possibly – more events. We will see …

So once the last rites have been read and Digue has been closed, we’ll be messing about in the sky above Furillen and coming up with something that will enhance the sim as an interesting space to hang around, explore and enjoy art, culture and the company of others.

And if it sounds as though I haven’t much of a clue about exactly what we’re doing up there, you’d be absolutely right …

 

News from Furillen-Hoth

It seems that there are a lot Star Wars geeks on the grid – no surprise there. There have been plenty of visitors to Furillen-Hoth so far, many in costume, with one or two rezzing their own vehicles and flying around. I’ve seen quite a few people who haven’t been to the sim before, and it’s good to have some fresh faces around.

I thought it might be good to hold a gathering of the geeks. So welcome to the “younglings, younglings’ gather ’round” Furillen-Hoth Christmas party …

furillen-hoth-christmas-party

Star Wars costume is essential, of course. But given that there are so many great mesh Star Wars avatars and costumes around on marketplace, and that they are so inexpensive, this is as easy as it gets. We’ll stream some party music – good bits from the movies, of course (who can resist Cantina?) – but with a bit of inventiveness we can add some space-themed music from more familiar Furillen names, like Bowie and Radiohead.

The best pictures so far range from very funny spoofs to beautiful landscapes. Do keep them coming …

Afternoon with the Solos

Attack

A suspicious conversation

On top of the icy world

They're Coming

Surrounded

ppl @ Furillen

We are not the droids you are looking for...

Nothing will ever be the same...

Invasion

Stand Your Ground

Battle of Hoth

you guys there it is!!!

Invaders of Hoth

the janitor is afk

At some point tomorrow morning I’ll slip out of London and drive west – to Pilton, near Glastonbury in Somerset – through a maze of quiet back roads so that I avoid the traffic chaos that was making headlines today. Once there, I’ll be greeted by some fairly apocalyptic scenes, with early arrivals to this year’s Glastonbury Festival drowning – quite literally, in some cases – in mud caused by an unusually wet June. Scenes such as these, captured in pictures that were taken earlier today …

 

 

I’ll park the car, walk through mud and cow shit for about ninety minutes, and pitch my tent – high up above the festival site, near to my favourite stage, the John Peel Stage, which is the third or fourth biggest of the festival. Sigur Rós will be headlining this stage on Friday evening.

No matter how many times you have been to Glastonbury, nothing prepares you for its scale. Despite the sheer number of stages, music is really just a small part of what this festival is about. It began – and continues, where it can – as a quasi-utopian space in which there are as few rules as possible. For many years it was associated with CND, then Greenpeace, and these days supports a wide range of charities.

Besides music, the festival has massive fields dedicated to alternative lifestyles, leftfield politics, and various arts such as theatre, poetry and sculpture. There is a huge circus tent, a large series of deejay stages, silent discos, and legendary bars in a ‘naughty corner’ – or Shangri-La – in which free expression has been elevated to the status of an absolute value. If you spend your evening here, you can expect to be occupied until around 6am the next day.

As for the music, when you see this …

 

pyramid 1

 

… it just takes your breath away. Every. Single. Time.

There is usually a sculpture mounted above this stage – Glastonbury’s main stage, known as the Pyramid. Last year is was this awesome CND clock …

 

cnd clock

 

This year the Pyramid stage will be topped by a sculpture of a lightning bolt, in memory of this man …

 

bowie glasto

 

This is the first thing I will go to see tomorrow. In 2000, Bowie performed a set at the festival that has taken on a legendary status. The main musical action at Glastonbury won’t be starting until Friday, but at 1800 tomorrow, a huge crowd is expected to gather at the Pyramid to pay homage. The massive screens on either side of the stage will flicker into life, and Bowie’s set will be replayed in full.

I have seen this set several times (catch it here). But seeing it again at the very stage on which it was performed, and with such a large crowd, should be something very special indeed. Here he is, performing Heroes that day in 2000. Watch him speaking just before the song begins. Magical …

 

 

As for the rest of the festival, which runs until Sunday, I’ll see what I can post in terms of pictures and snippets of writing as I go along.

In the meantime, I will, as they say, be afk …

 

glasto bowie

Furillen At Its Best

INVITATION  - "Furillen At Its Best"

Mareea Farrasco has put together a really impressive collection of pictures that have been taken at Furillen since it first opened in October 2015. As you know, the sim has been blessed with an extraordinarily active and talented Flickr group, which now boasts over 6100 images in total.

Selecting from these wasn’t easy, but Mareea has done a great job.

The exhibition will be held at the IMAGO Art Gallery, starting with a party on Sunday 19 June at midday SLT. There will be a selection of music from past events at the sim, especially from Bowie, Radiohead, Abba, Prince, Grease and the disco night.

Talking of Radiohead, I have something small planned for this coming Friday, 17 June, at Furillen itself. Keep an eye out for details if you’re a Radiohead geek.

About geeks, nerds and Thom’s eye …

While preparing for the upcoming Furillen @ Radiohead Weekend, it was inevitable that I would eventually find myself ruminating on what it means to be a geek. And/or a nerd.

When you start taking pleasure in making an inworld ad for the Radiohead event …

MIMIC POSTER

… look as similar as possible to the ads the band are using for the forthcoming round of festival appearances …

radiohead tour

… you obviously have some geek issues going on. Especially when you get really pissed because you can’t find the exact same font.

30rock-liz-lemon-tina-fey-b-tch-you-are-on-my-last-nerve

As I said yesterday, there seems to be something about Radiohead that invites geekishness.

thomyorkegeek

Right?

To test the theory, I  turned to the totally unscientific method of trying out Google autocomplete – and if you’re interested in how this actually works, go here.

rolls eyes gif

When I typed in ‘Why are Radiohead fans’ … I got this back …

radiohead fans

… which intrigued me because I didn’t get geek.

I got nerd.

Boring nerd.

And then I realised that I don’t actually know – for sure – what the difference is between a geek and a nerd.

According to this page, a geek is obsessively knowledgeable about a particular topic – but crucially, they also tend to be quite social.

A geek may enjoy board games, film (and may follow directors, composers, or key grips obsessively), tech gadgets, hacking, and techno music. They have their fascination in what makes them unique, but you probably wouldn’t know of their geekitude unless they told you about it.

Hmm, really?

A nerd is also super knowledgeable, but according to this wiki page on the subject – written, by a geek, surely! – the nerd lacks social skills.

many nerds are described as being shy, quirky, and unattractive.

To be fair, the wiki page on geeks also mentions social skills when referring to …

… the general pejorative meaning of [geek as] a “peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, or socially awkward”.

This kind of exercise can easily send us going around in circles. But on the whole, it seems fair to conclude that geeks are always techie and can often be cool, while nerds – generically – are not necessarily techie and not so much cool as just plain funny.

nerd gif

So while this page on how to be both smart and cool ends by concluding – more or less – ‘just don’t be a nerd, asshole’ … you will find plenty of material out there about why geek is the new cool.

So where does that leave Radiohead? Well here it gets a little bit deeper, because Thom was – by all accounts – something of a nerd himself at school. You’ll find plenty of material out there about Thom’s ‘small man syndrome’ – and about his wonky eye.

Not that he cares these days …

thom yorke eye

Being something of a lazy geek-nerd myself, I have read just one book about Radiohead. It was written by someone who knew Thom at university and it starts by describing his genuine shock on seeing this awkward, weird guy from his younger days being elevated to the status of the world’s coolest cat.

I am focusing on the shock here, not on the cool.

Then you listen to Creep – that song the band really hate to play – which goes …

I wish I was special…
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here,
I don’t belong here.

… and you begin to understand how this band might appeal to geeks – and/or nerds – in ways that only their therapists – or Nietzsche, perhaps – would understand.

It’s about self-transcendence.

Still with me?

hug gif

Joking aside, I’m not sure that Radiohead fans are more geeky – or nerdy – than any other group of dedicated music fans. Sure, you need to be smart to ‘get’ them … but you could say that about quite a few bands.

Except … I wouldn’t have written a post like this about another band.

Slipknot for nerds?

Bowie – the man from planet geek?

No, I don’t think so either.

But wait! … the Bowie reference is a dead give away. He was ‘weird’ too. He stood out at school, and was so ‘annoying’ that someone hit him when he was just 14 – so hard that it damaged his left eye permanently.

Ah yes … the eyes. Compare and contrast.

Bowie’s damaged left eye made him look like a sexy alien …

bowie eyes

… whereas Thom’s wonky left eye just makes him look, well, weird …

thom-yorke-eye-267x200

I’d like to say this nicely, but I can’t. So I’ll just say it.

There is beautiful weird. Bowie.

And there is creepy weird. Yorke.

Or to put it in another way. Bowie gave us …

a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds.

… whereas Yorke and his friends gave us a creep and a weirdo who comes over as faintly stalkerish …

When you were here before,
Couldn’t look you in the eye,
You’re just like an angel,
Your skin makes me cry,
You float like a feather,
In a beautiful world,
I wish I was special,
You’re so fucking special.

Perhaps it’s this career-defining song, and the techno-dystopian themes of OK Computer! – that have fed the more general association between Radiohead, techie-geekish-nerdiness and pretentiousness.

So blame it on Creep. What Radiohead did with that song was to celebrate the kind of weirdness that – like the weirdness of the nerd – easily leads to low self-esteem.

And they turned it into an art-form.

In writing this song – the very song that made them super-famous – they showed how you could be so uncool that it was, well, cool ….

No wonder they hate playing it now.