Latest news and pictures

The new sim has been attracting around 350-400 visitors per day, and as the guestbook comments suggest, it is being well received. Please do sign the guestbook, your entries are really appreciated and will be published here. You will find the book in the warehouse, top floor bar, right here …

digue-guesbook_001-copy

It will come as no surprise when I say that some spectacular images are being made at the sim and posted on the flickr group. Here are some of the highlights …

La Digue du Braek I

extreme selfi  @La Digue du Braek   ( le selfi du matin n'arrête pas pèlerin )

What Christmas Hath Our Modern World Wrought?

Beyond

Reflections

La Digue du Braek 4

Rumour said SL 2.0 had been on its way...

Monochrome

La Digue du Break @ Muppets Island - 6

Ready to

pray

La Digue du Braek (161205)

La Digue du Braek - December 6th 2 mono

La Digue du Braek

Meccano

Ombres croisées

At The Dunes

Incidentally, just in case you were wondering, Furillen is still fairly busy, with around 100-150 visitors each day, many of whom see the sim as their Second Life home. I see plenty of people using both sims a lot, which is no surprise and very welcome. Donations are equally welcome, although not compulsory and – unlike some sims in Second Life – we do not charge a membership fee.

I find the contrasting styles of pictures that emerge from each sim really fascinating. These things evolve, of course, but while La Digue du Braek is drawing out some fantastically gritty images from the industrial side along with beautiful landscapes from the beach – and plenty depicting the tension between these aspects of the sim – the best pictures from Furillen still tend towards the kind of minimalism that has distinguished this group on flickr from the outset.

So … just to show that it won’t be outdone, here are some of my favourite pictures recently taken at Furillen …

Love Birds in the Grey @ Furillen

Furillen15

* Just Sitting *

Landing point silhouette

Bird On The Wire

Long shadows we cast ...

Army of Cups

f u r i l l e n f u n k

funky gif

Yes!

So we had our evening of funk at Furillen. The playlist – put together in consultation with Micky and Vallys – was awesome, with almost five hours’ worth of classics, from Earth, Wind Fire’s September …

… through It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls …

… and Le Freak by Chic …

… to Carl Douglas’s Kung Fu Fighting …

Besides great tunes, we installed a fabulous dance floor …

Disco Fever

Funk Night down at Furillen

Furillen disco

… and there were some terrific outfits …

Shakin' it Down

Disco Inferno

Our resident video artist, Dooozy, was there, not only making sure we had the funniest dances, but recording a movie of the event, which she’ll be working on this week.

excited gif

I love this music, and had great fun putting the playlist together. So if anyone wants a repeat later this Spring…

Joker-Yelling-Hit-Me-The-Dark-Knight

Meanwhile, our plans include …

  • a series of exhibitions based on the first (real) life photography and painting of some of our favourite Second Life artists;
  • a series of room changes at the hotel, with some guest decorators;
  • music evenings – I suppose we can call them parties – featuring heavy metal, the blues, and more;
  • a music weekend based around Pink Floyd;
  • a new building or two;
  • more weather.

No doubt that last point will provoke some extreme reactions, from …

yippee gif

… to …

anger gif

On that note, I wanted to share something that intrigued and (ever so slightly) disturbed me this week.

listening gif

I was having a ‘debate’ with someone who was being disruptive on the sim, who told me that I should be ‘grateful for his custom’.

come again gif

Yes you heard it right.

‘Sim owners like you should be grateful for my custom’.

That’s what he said. Verbatim.

Custom?

Sarcastic-Hahaha-No-Reaction-Gif

I don’t know what he’d bought either, and I can tell you for certain that he hadn’t made a donation.

Ever.

But even if he had, his behaviour was in breach of Furillen’s one and only rule

don't be a diuck gif

Which only leaves me to share the best joke I heard this week. It’s slightly non-PC, so please look away now if you’re squeamish that way.

It was about the dyslexic who walked into a bra …

haha gif

Happy Sunday !

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.

I’ll cross the stream — I have a dream

True Abba fans – and I know that one or two read this blog every day – will immediately recognise the line in the title of this post. It’s from ‘I Have a Dream’.

Not, I am relieved to say, that great 1963 speech by Martin Luther King – which ends, Thank God Almighty, we are free at last …

… but rather the 1979 song by Abba, which ends – you guessed it – with I’ll cross the stream – I have a dream …

This absurd contrast is merely a way to draw your attention to the unavoidable fact that my suggestion that ‘Abba’ and ‘bad taste’ are not so much bedfellows as identical twins ranges far more widely than their taste for spandex …

abba spandex 2

… their lyrics, too, often sound so ‘wrong’ that they come almost the whole way back to ‘right’. If you don’t believe me, try singing along to …

It was like shooting a sitting duck
A little small talk, a smile and baby I was stuck …

… from “Lay All Your Love On Me”, or …

My my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way …

… from the epoch-making “Waterloo” .

abba waterloo gif

I should hasten to add that I was quite the Abba fan myself back then. I played the songs, watched the movie, wore the badges and fancied the blonde to bits. So take my references to their terrible clothes and bad lyrics less as satire than as someone trying – and doubtless failing – to exorcise a few teenage demons.

We all have them. Mine just happen to be dressed in spandex …

you-look-ridiculous.gif

Incidentally, if you do some digging you’ll find a claim – commonplace now – that Abba dressed like that in order to avoid tax. How did that work? Well, clothes worn by performers were tax deductible if you could prove that they weren’t also being used for daily wear.

But surely there must have been more tasteful ways of exploiting a tax loophole? Such as …

rianna gif

… or …

bad dress gif

Well, OK, perhaps not.

But seriously, I adore many of Abba’s songs – top tip: treat them like Italian opera, ignore the words and focus on the tunes – and have been to see Mamma Mia in London and absolutely loved it.

So when “Dancing Queen” comes blasting through the Furillen music stream later on today, count me in.

But why hold such an event at Furillen? Because Abba were Swedish, of course …

no shit sherlock

… but it turns out that there is another, more direct connection between Abba and the real  Furillen. I have unearthed a story from 2008 that Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus wanted to set up a recording studio on the island. He is reported to have said …

As I stood and gazed out over the sea to the east …then I knew I was in the right place.

… while the local council appeared to have been enthusiastic about the idea …

This is very concrete evidence … of how attractive Gotland is for creative people.

According to this piece from 2013, the studio’s construction was set to go ahead …

Here, the music will be at the center. One wing is plotted on the sketch of the big studio. There is also a lounge and a place for living in a low building with a view of the ocean toward the sunrise.

… until various planning issues arose that seem to have led to a change of heart in 2014 …

No, I’m probably not interested anymore. That was then, and much water has flowed under the bridge.

The project fell through because of shore protection rules.

In any case, Furillen seems more suited to Agnetha Fältskog – erstwhile object of my own teenage dreams – who retired from public life and became something of a recluse more then two decades ago.

Her ‘disappearance’ generated the usual Garboesque myths and mysteries, but according to the singer herself when she ‘reappeared’ to release an album in 2013, Agnetha merely wanted to spend time with her family and her dogs.

‘A new album’, I hear you cry, ‘what is it like?’.

I don’t know how to put this. Well actually I do.

If you could hear spandex, it would sound exactly like this …

Shall I upload it to Furillen’s music stream?

Michael-Scott-no-god-please-no

Enjoy your weekends !

Abba at Furillen

We’ll be holding a quick and dirty Abba party at Furillen next weekend …

Abba

… nothing major, just a few tunes on auto deejay and some really bad costumes, such as these …

abba

… or perhaps these …

bestofabba_japan

… or even these …

Eurovision-2013-ABBA1 (1)

Meanwhile, for you Furillen Flickrites, a challenge: pictures using Abba song lines as titles.

challenge accepted

The best ones will be posted here.

abba gif

the man who fell to earth

bowie a

Yesterday was Bowie day at Furillen. I streamed the following albums:

Space Oddity (1969)
The Man Who Sold The World (1970)
Hunky Dory (1971)
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
Alladin Sane (1973)
Diamond Dogs (1974)
Young Americans (1975)
Station to Station (1976)
Heroes (1977)
Lodger (1979)
Scary Monsters [and Super Creeps] (1980)
Let’s Dance (1983)
Outside (1995)
Heathen (2002)
Reality (2003)
The Next Day (2013)
Blackstar (2016)

I will let the stream play on today, before reverting to the usual ambient music.

I had a fascinating time going through Bowie’s catalogue: the incredibly productive period in the 1970s, of course, but also some real gems from later on. Even supposed duds like Outside (1995) contain some great music.

As for Blackstar – the man’s style, in passing, leaves me speechless.

I also recommend this video, which is of David singing ‘Heroes’ at my favourite festival, Glastonbury, in 2000.