And the centre of the world is …

Scunthorpe

scunthorpe

where Arcade Fire – a regular fixture on the Furillen playlist – will play a gig on 7 June.

Arcade-Fire-Scunthorpe-Edinburgh

I love this band, and I love that they did this … although I have no idea why.

It’s difficult to explain just how dull Scunthorpe is. It’s absolutely nowhere. When I googled ‘quotes about Scunthorpe’, the first relevant hit was a page about garden fencing.

No band ever plays there – except for The Pogues, in 1988.

Nobody visits this town. Ever …

scunthorpe sign

Although there is something of the flavour of La Digue du Braek about its surroundings …

ScunthorpeSkyline

What a brilliant, quirky, insane – unpredictable – band …

What a Feeling …

Wednesday’s party in the Iceberg Lounge was a big success – lots of people there, and a really good set from Jero. The setting was perfect.

Next up, on Tuesday, we’ll be holding a party to celebrate one of the greatest movies of all time (or of April 1983, at least!) …

flash

… so get your leotards and leggings out of the closet and get ready for some of this …

Partly for the occasion, and also because we like it, we have installed a new venue, right next to Chinatown where the boxing hall and pizzeria used to be. We called it The Dork Knight …

dork knight_002

… and it’s loud and bright – inside, at least. This is the second new building from Nomad that has been installed at the sim during the past week, the other being the beautiful Stockholm-inspired Mjölnir Kompaniet, which fits perfectly on the ground and seems true to the Swedish origins of the sim …

new building at furillen

And just in case you missed it, we are also planning a mega-event, dedicated to The Beatles in general, and specifically to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This will be held during June, and although we’ve hardly even started the planning, it’s likely to be on a similar scale to the previous events devoted to Bowie, Radiohead and Pink Floyd. It will therefore involve transforming the ground part of the sim, so expect a few days of closure during late May.

Meanwhile, to celebrate our new building – and to show we don’t take this Batman stuff too seriously – I leave you with this …

Sgt. Pepper comes to Furillen

The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released. In every city in Europe and America the radio stations played [it] … and everyone listened … it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. For a brief while the irreparable fragmented consciousness of the West was unified, at least in the minds of the young. (Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone)

On 1 June 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, and we will be celebrating its fiftieth birthday at Furillen with an event whose scale will match those we dedicated to Bowie, Radiohead and Pink Floyd.

pepper at 50 C

This was a great – epic – record. It was described in The Times as “a decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation”, as “a historic departure in the progress of music” in Time magazine, and in Newsweek, as a “masterpiece” whose lyrics rank alongside literary greats such as T. S. Elliot, Edith Sitwell and Harold Pinter.

Just look at the tracklist …

the-beatles-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-7-cd

… and then remind yourselves that two of The Beatles’ best-loved songs, Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane, were recorded during the sessions for this album but released separately as a double A-side single – and you begin to appreciate the hot creative streak that the band must have been on at this time.

Besides the songs, the concept – playing as an alter-ego group enabled the band to experiment musically – together with the artwork

Making The Cover for Sgt Pepper_s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1)

… and the influences …

mrkiteposter

… give the album such richness, depth and quality that the hyperbole surrounding it seems quite justified. This was – truly – a great record.

As always, we’ll be turning the entire sim into a tribute: to the group, their albums and songs and the artwork associated with them, and – of course – to Liverpool itself. It’s a city I know quite well: the first house I bought was right here on this street …

penny_lane

So, to get you in the mood, here’s Take 9 of the title track, which contains some speaking at the end and will be released as part of a special anniversary edition

oknotok

Radiohead news just in … a special re-release of OK Computer in its 20th anniversary year.

cover9

oknotok track list

“I Promise”, “Lift” and “Man of War” have never previously been released. The rest of disc 2 are B-sides.

Release Date: 23 June 2017 (same day as their Glastonbury set)

I guess we’ll do something at the sim for this – although not on release day, because I’ll be at Glastonbury …

Glastonbury Festival

… hoping for an OK Computer-dominated set.

They played a legendary Glastonbury set in 1997 …

Stayin’ Alive

Long-time visitors to Furillen might be excused for assuming that its owners are minimalist snobs … or geeks with childish obsessions like Star Wars and Batman … or that we have our ears tuned permanently to the depressing sounds of Radiohead. But nothing could be further from the truth. The sim is – always has been, always will be – a silent tribute to an event that detonated into the popular culture in 1977.

This was a momentous year on so many levels. Politically – Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as US President in January, Indira Gandhi resigned as Indian PM in March, Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebrations dominated the British summer, and Steve Biko died in September. Economically – the first Apple II computers went on sale, inflation stood at 6.5% in the US and a whopping 15.8% in the UK, you could buy a BMW320i for less than $8000 while a Barbie Road Trip with Motor Home, Dune Buggy and a Bicycle could be snapped up for just $72 (although sadly, these haven’t fared well in the vintage Barbie toys market). There was the famous and disturbing New York City Blackout in July. And of course, Elvis Presley died, on August 16 that same year. Or so some people allege …

But to us, one event stands above all of these for its lasting significance and impact on our lives and the lives of countless others. On 14 December 1977, cinema audiences watched in awe as the camera swept across Brooklyn Bridge, the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge, the B line subway train, until … finally … we saw these shoes …

JT boots

… and heard that great song fading in with those first two immortal lines …

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk

… the camera panned up, and there he was, Tony Manero himself, and we could indeed ‘tell by the way he uses his walk’ …

manero

… that life just got a whole lot better, that music got a whole lot richer, and that disco dancing will never be quite the same again. Because, let’s be absolutely honest, what’s not to love and admire – really – about the music of the Bee Gees

bee gee gif

All of which is simply a way of announcing that we’ll be staging our own tribute to Saturday Night Fever after 40 years, as the Iceberg Lounge gets the playlist it deserves, this coming Tuesday.

saturdaynightfever-test3

So … as you throw open those wardrobe doors and select your sequinned outfits for the celebrations, here it is, that four minute sequence that changed the world …

Next …

So we’re done building Furillen City. For now. And as this great picture from Wurfi shows, it looks pretty good.

Furillen City

But of course, we never really finish. Just today, we added the art studio behind Cat Mews, filling in the last (lateral) ‘dead spot’ on the main sim platform at 3400 metres. We’ll surely add more, and tinker with what we have. But for now, that’s enough … and we hope you enjoy visiting this place as much we enjoyed building it.

Having spent most of the spare time I had during three rather intense weeks putting the city together, I must admit to feeling some trepidation when we opened two nights ago. This was mainly trepidation at suddenly having to share the space! But in fact, seeing people beginning to occupy the city, visiting some of my own favourite spots, and just hanging out on the streets – sitting and watching – brought genuine pleasure as everything started coming to life. Long may this continue.

So … what now?

Well … in the City itself, we’ll be taking advantage of the higher avatar limit by holding music events (including live events) and exhibitions at the various venues we’ve created. We have identified where the exhibition space will be, and there are at least four spaces where music events can – and will – be held. This starts on Tuesday, when there will be a batman-themed party – what else? – in one of the sewer rooms. So get out your costumes and avatars and come along. And actually, any superhero or comic book character will do – just bring whatever you have.

And watch this space for news of more events.

Meanwhile, having barely visited the ground at the sim for the past three weeks, we dropped down today and installed an old favourite from La Digue du Braek, Maison du pendu loon-plage, which I wrote about here. It means losing the ferry for a while, but nothing stands completely still … even at Furillen.

maison furillen 01_006 copy

Leonard Cohen

And who by fire, who by water,
who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
who in your merry merry month of may,
who by very slow decay,
and who shall I say is calling?
And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
and who by avalanche, who by powder,
who for his greed, who for his hunger,
and who shall I say is calling?
And who by brave assent, who by accident,
who in solitude, who in this mirror,
who by his lady’s command, who by his own hand,
who in mortal chains, who in power,
and who shall I say is calling?