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 …


… 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.


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



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 …


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.

Furillen latest

We have had a few days of rain – and some awesome pictures. You really outdid yourselves this time with some incredibly varied and creative images that demonstrate – once again – the value of a sim that doesn’t dictate how it should be photographed …



It is about a balance under the rain

I had to get 'brolly' ;p Hang on kitty! It's a mad dash to the good ole airstream before this paper brolly breaks!

Damm is lost in the Thoughts @ Furillen

Looking for shelter @Furillen

Pigeons, a bumper car and soaked sneakers @ Furillen ;)


Sir BabOOn



Date'Boots @Furillen

what is she thinking?



Really pretty

@hill.s enjoy's the rain

This is just a sample of the pictures you’ve been making during the last few days. If you want to know why I make an effort with the sim, this is the answer.


Furillen is likely to be bathed in warm, Spring sunshine again this weekend. The experiment with rain went well. Most visitors reported minimal lag issues, and everyone I spoke to thought the torrential downpour looked and sounded great.

Having cleaned up the scripts in the rain, I’ve been preparing it all for packing into a rezzer – because as I said before, it would be great for the weather to vary at the sim. If you’ve seen me standing around at Furillen with my arm in the air and ‘unavailable’ over my head, this is why.

busy gif

I’ll be looking at other variations in the weather during the next few weeks.

weather gif

batman weather

Before all that, though, we have some events coming up that I wanted to remind you about.

First: Today – 4 March at Midday SLT – is deadline day for Round 3 of the Furillen photography competition. Given the slightly more complex nature of the task this time around, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of entries received so far, and I’ll be sifting and sorting them into a new flickr stream later on today.

There is no voting this time. I have been putting together a small panel of judges who visit Furillen regularly and have some kind of connection with it, but no obvious vested interests. I will be a member of the panel – so if you want to bribe me, go right ahead and try, but bear in mind that my prices are really high …

Apple for the teacher cartoon

As before, this is a low stakes contest, there is no big prize, and I’ll do my best to feature as many of the entries as I can on this blog.

So relax and enjoy seeing what people came up to convey ‘The Meaning of Furillen’. The winner will be displayed in one form or another at the sim.


Details of Round 4 will be announced in due course. I personally think it’s worth going on with this competition, because it adds another layer to the increasingly rich and enjoyable artistic life that we all enjoy at Furillen. It is never the primary focus of what happens there, and not everyone wants to join in. But for those who do, it provides a good challenge.

bring it gif

Second: While we’re waiting for the judges to do their work, we may as well party – so there will be a small Abba event at the sim on the evening (Euro timezone) of Saturday 5 March. Just costumes and music for this one. It’s a bad taste festival – you know what to do.

bad taste

I’ll announce a more precise time window for this tomorrow morning, but your best bet is to have your music switched on and listen out for ‘Dancing Queen’.

danxing queen gif

Third: The rather more serious and tasteful Radiohead event happens next weekend. This follows on from what we did with Bowie, but steps things up a bit because a lot of what gets seen at the sim during the weekend will consist of art made by you. I’ve been receiving videos and pictures all week, and will start going through them towards the middle of next week.


There is still plenty of time to pull something together for the event. But to be clear: I won’t be displaying lots of pictures on the sim and turning it into a giant gallery. You know my feelings about that. So most of what gets made will turn up as part of a slide show. I’ll also be displaying pictures, movies and other information about Radiohead.

radiohead gif

I’ll be putting all of this together during the next week.

Ever the optimist, I’m still hopeful that the boys from Abingdon School might drop their new album just in time for us to add it to the music stream. And if they do, I will – obviously – claim that I’m Thom’s best friend and he did this as a Furillen favour.

But I would – of course – be lying.

creep gif

Fourth: Is there life after Radiohead? At Furillen we certainly think so, and to prove it I plan to run a series of exhibitions featuring a mix of photography from first and second life. This makes sense to me, given that the virtual Furillen has a strong connection with the real Furillen.

I’ll be giving out details about these events in due course.

Besides all of this, I am sure there will be plenty of other – impromptu – developments at the sim as the janitor continues to get to grips with his relatively low boredom threshold.


New weather patterns, a few new toys, a new building or two, some music events, and other stuff we haven’t even thought of yet.

small head gif

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for a sim in which – by design – ‘nothing happens’ … an awful lot is happening at Furillen.

Hope to see you at some point over the weekend – I’ll be off and on intermittently.

But if you’re not wearing spandex, I’ll want to know why.

spandex abba



Bowie InstaMiniSeries: no. 2

Bowie InstaMiniSeries: no. 1

You probably don’t need me to draw your attention to this, but the first vignette from Instagram’s new miniseries Unbound, featuring music from David Bowie’s final album Blackstar, has just been released.

An explanation of the series is here …

View this post on Instagram

"UNBOUND: A ★ InstaMiniSeries” In the Fall of 2015, David Bowie gave us unique pre-release access to the music from ★ (pronounced ‘Blackstar’), his 28th studio album, allowing us to create our own visual interpretations of his songs, with no limits or preconditions on his part. Completed in December 2015, UNBOUND: A★InstaMiniSeries takes the audience on a journey of evocative images inspired by the moods suggested in the album’s music, lyrics and artwork. Each episode of the series is sure to capture the imaginations of all who experience it and will undoubtedly lead to endless speculation and discussion of meaning, metaphor and intention. We are honored to have had this opportunity and hope you'll join our 16 episode series, premiering February 25th. New episode every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Executive Producer: @InstaMiniSeries Director: @nikkiborges Music: @davidbowie Writer: @carolynncecilia Co-Producer: @lawrenceperyer Director of Photography: @joshuasterlingbragg Line Producer: @delaVega Associate Producers: @amandadelanuez @itscecfernandez Production Designer: @LezGolden Costume Designer: @Bodilicious Hair / Make Up Artist: @missy_mua Miss Clarkson’s Make Up Artist: Angie Elizalde VFX Production House: @heym1ster Dance Choreographer: @ofbonesdance, @hollyebynum Stunt Coordinator: @stuntmanpete Wire Rigger: @stuntworks Stunt Woman: @hellskitten29 Behind The Scenes: @a_madd Production Assistant: @clemencyforclem Special Thanks: @instalucas Protagonist: @tavitulle Lounge singer: Patricia Clarkson The Dancer: @rysak Woman at the Train: @Jayknowlest Young Boy: Jonah Herman Man in the alley: @Qdb_omg Woman in the red dress: @nikkiborges Drummer: Owen Riley-Duffy Older woman: Ching Valdes Anan Piano Player: @katiemorrmidd Dancer #2: @maks_wel18 Dancer #3: @katiemattar Dancer #4: @fulloutfarrish Dancer #5: @_ious Dancer #6: @felixs_journey Arm of man: @delaVega Woman in the audience: @amandadelanuez

A post shared by InstaMiniSeries (@instaminiseries) on


… and episode 1 is here …




Furillen catch-up

I’ve not been inworld much this week, having been caught up in a whirl of meetings and gigs in first life. I won’t bore you with details about the meetings, but the music is worth mentioning.

I am in the midst of seeing two bands twice. Many of you might not have heard of Enter Shikari – people try to give them a genre, such as post-hardcore or Electronicore, but this approach doesn’t really work for me. They are a ‘political’ band, citing Rage Against The Machine and Sick of it All as influences – although here, too, a label doesn’t do them justice.

Anyway, they are really great live – and having seem them twice in 2015, I wanted to catch them as they step up from medium-sized rooms to what in the UK we call ‘arenas’, i.e. spaces holding around 10,000 people.

On this tour they are playing a few Mindsweep remixes from Hospitalized, and the sound coming from the long line of sub-woofers in front of the stage was – literally – causing a breeze.

Here’s a clip from the show I attended with my daughter – a huge fan – last weekend.

In case you are wondering – no, I wasn’t taking this video. I was getting bruised ribs right at the front.

I’ll be seeing them again tomorrow in London’s best arena. I say ‘best’ because there are no seats at all, and there is something about standing – and moving – with 9,999 other people that I rather like.

The other band I saw twice is a duo from Columbus, Ohio, called Twenty-One Pilots, playing back-to-back gigs in Bowie’s part of London, Brixton. I have been to a lot of gigs recently, and – having seen them three times now – these are, for me, the best live performers of them all.

Their sense of theatre, with some great masks and costumes, and their movement around the stage – quite an achievement for a duo where one guy is a drummer and the other often plays piano – are brilliant.

Here’s a clip from last night’s gig of them performing Car Radio.

Once again, this isn’t my video. I am – with my daughter, again – in front and to the right.

So what’s all this got to do with Furillen?


When I look back on my gig list from 2016, Radiohead are bound to be on it. Several times. I’m hoping they will headline Glastonbury this year (I have a ticket), and will try to catch them at one or two other festivals on their calendar.

Their album could – will! – drop any moment between now and late May. If we are lucky- who knows? – it will be out in time for our Radiohead weekend at Furillen.

But even if it’s not, keep making those pictures and videos, because it’s one hell of a back catalogue.

Seeing as I’m giving you clips not pictures today, let’s sign off with a link to the full hour of Radiohead’s legendary set from Glastonbury 1997 – and no, alas, I was not there.

May all your Fridays be good ones.

coming up at Furillen

We have a few events on the horizon at Furillen, so I thought I would note them down in one place for easy reference.

First. Round 3 of the Furillen photography competition is due to end on Friday 4 March at Midday SLT.

pier poster_001

I know that some of you are working on this, but others were a little reluctant because it seemed like too much work, or too complicated. So while there are still almost two weeks left before the deadline, allow me to simplify what this round involves.


Of, and about, Furillen.

Furillen in SL. And also – if you wish – Furillen in RL.


Theme: ‘what Furillen means to me’.

So … if you are holding back from this round because it seems too complex, please think again.

Second. The Furillen Radiohead event – 12-13 March 2016.


This is a weekend with a difference, because although I will do everything I can to pull something together that is every bit as rich and as fun as the Bowie event was, on this occasion I wanted to go a step further …

So I am inviting you to make your own pictures and videos inspired by Radiohead songs to display at the sim during the event.

Which give me an excellent excuse to show you this, of Thom Yorke, going kind of apeshit himself …

… and also to brag about being present when this happened – unannounced – during the UK’s Latitude Festival last summer. Thom with Portishead, singing The Rip …

Many people are already working on producing pictures and videos for this weekend. I’d like to make it a really collaborative event in which everyone who wants to contribute, can do so.

If you have an idea but you’re not sure about whether it fits, contact me or Mareea Farrasco, who is helping out with the organization.

The likely answer in most cases is ‘yes’.

Third. Abba. Some of you said yes. But I’d like more. All I have in mind is a costume party, based on one of Sweden’s greatest exports. (I could, of course, have chosen Ikea or Volvo … ?)

Now click this, and I dare you not to be moved, somehow

If you’re a child of the 1970s, or a more recent convert to the music of this great spandex quartet through watching the wonderful musical and movie, Mama Mia, let me know.

Want more bad outfits? OK …

Fourth. Other musical events. Someone – she knows who she is – mentioned a heavy metal show. I can well imagine an event with avatars dressed up to the music of great bands like Slipknot, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Rammstein, AC/DC, Marilyn Manson … a Furillen version of the UK’s great Download festival, which I will doubtless be going to.

You might not love the music, but come on … the costumes??





I rest my case.

Enjoy your Sundays!


As I’ve said before, although Furillen stands in many ways for solitude with its emptiness and austere mood, it is a sim that lives and thrives on the strength of the conviviality one finds there. The sim is a virtual community of artists as much – if not more – than it is a landscape.

Furillen people

This is expressed in the art that gets made there: in the way that creative ideas are realised and expressed, shared and displayed. With our previous events – the Moon Edenbaum exhibition of portraits and the Bowie weekend – these qualities have been merged to create occasions that have been genuinely immersive and involving, and really quite memorable for those who took part in them.

In more spontaneous forms, too, Furillen is finding its own particular ways of expressing itself as a social space. The flashmob events are a great example of this process – and we had another last night. The line-up reached a peak of avatars on the sim within minutes of being announced, and while people came and went as first life commitments called on their time, a large gathering of Furillenites remained in place for several hours during the evening, plotting and planning future events and collaboration.

Furillen people  v.1.2

This was, for me, Furillen at its very best, as expressed in these extraordinarily fine pictures by Nhera Larnia (above) and Laura …

Flash mmmmmmob

Of the future events we talked about during the evening, perhaps the most exciting will be the Radiohead weekend.

radiohead & furillen

2016 will be a big year for the band. Having been on hiatus for a number of years, they dropped their ‘rejected’ Bond movie theme song – Spectre – onto an unsuspecting public on Christmas day. The song, which I love, has been on the sim’s music stream ever since that time, as are a number of other Radiohead tracks.

Here is Spectre as we might have heard and seen it in the movie theatre, were it not for the exceptionally poor musical taste of the film’s producers…


One of my personal all-time favourite songs by Radiohead is Exit Music (For a Film), which is beautifully conveyed in this ethereal movie …

A new Radiohead album – likely to be released without warning – is due out any moment now. A summer tour is also being planned, with festival dates already being announced regularly on the band’s website.

Here is the image the band is using to publicise the tour – and possibly the artwork that will be used on the album itself – mocked up as Furillen’s welcome mat. Please note – geek alert! – that the font I have used  here (BD Plakatba) is from the Kid A album …

radiohead 2016 furillen2

As a few minutes on Google will testify, Radiohead’s music lends itself very well to all kinds of original artistic expression, and this is what we would like to tap into and celebrate at Furillen.

We are therefore inviting producers of machinima and pictures – as well those who work in other media – to join us in exploring any aspect of this band’s music that inspires them. Our suggestion – but it really is only a suggestion – is to focus on a particular song and produce a work that conveys it or responds to it in some way.

We have been approaching people individually to invite them to contribute, but if you read this and feel excited by the project, please get in touch, I am very open to ideas.

As ever, I am pulling this together with help from others. In this instance, Mareea Farassco is lending a hand, so please also speak to her if you want to take part.

Let’s fix a date in mid-March for this.


Not everyone likes Radiohead’s music, of course – and not every band or music genre demands or justifies a full weekend of attention. In this spirit, I wonder about holding some smaller, shorter – evening-long – musical events in which we can face the music and dance.

So here’s a question for you. For a shorter music event at Furillen, involving striking costumes and music from Sweden that you can sing along at home to, does anyone fancy some of this?

Let me know, and I’ll ensure that it happens very soon.



We had a great first day of the Bowie weekend yesterday. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow of some of the outfits people wore. There were some interesting and very creative choices. Even the janitor changed out of his usual boiler suit and bleached his hair for the occasion.

Bowie at Furillen #4 (Rebel Rebel)

While the movies we had showing were popular, and the slide show of more than 200 pictures especially so, it was really all about Bowie’s music. There were more visitors to the stream than usual, and the average listening time shot up.

bowiegif 13

Starman got the highest number of listeners, while Heroes was also very popular – as, interestingly, was the song Bowie co-wrote with Eno, Warszawa. Joy Division originally called themselves “Warsaw” in honour of this song.

A request I wasn’t expecting was for This Is Not America. This was co-written by Bowie and a jazz fusion band called Pat Metheny Group, and was used for John Schlesinger’s 1985 movie, The Falcon and the Snowman.

Bowie didn’t perform it live until much later.

I came away from the day in awe of Bowie’s range. Nobody, in my view, comes close – he did everything, and most of it way ahead of his time.

In that spirit I wanted to share this – Bowie, appearing as the Lord Royal Highness in SpongeBob’s Atlantis Square Pantis in 2008. Apparently he became a SpongeBob fan through watching it with his daughter. Here is a picture of the character Bowie voiced – notice the eyes?

bowie Spongebob_bowie

You can watch a clip from it hereBowie also wrote a song for the upcoming Broadway show, The SpongeBob Musical. You couldn’t make it up …

I have spent quite a bit of time watching Bowie videos, reading about him and listening to his music while putting this Furillen event together. To be honest, after a while I stopped thinking about the event at all and just gathered material that I wanted to share.

bowiegif 04

What struck me more and more were his qualities as a human being: not only his genius and insight, but his humour and humility. Watch this video of a 1999 interview – where he says he doesn’t even know how to pronounce ‘Bowie’ – for evidence aplenty of what I mean:

What a beautiful man.

I’ll leave you with a video of the last single Bowie released during his lifetime. It is, of course, Valentine’s Day …