THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
The Blogpower Awards - today at 1400 London Time
It's "Gordon Brown Week" at the Last Ditch

The Party's over...

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Despite all my protestations to the contrary, it seems I was nervous about yesterday's awards ceremony. When the Second Life server crashed at precisely the time we were due to start, my heart sank. Within minutes, however, the server was back up. My “land” was accessible again and the guests began to return. There may well have been attendees who had not registered with Blogpower in advance. If, so I was not able to teleport them back. If anyone missed the event because of the crash, I can only apologise. You would have been very welcome.

After the initial scare, things went smoothly, thanks to a lot of real life goodwill in our virtual room. Our founder James Higham struggled with his welcome speech via a dial-up connection (“what is dial-up?”, heckled someone) but in the end he made his points.

I galloped through the formal part as rapidly as cut and paste would allow. SL “chat” lingers on screen for only 15 seconds, so I had to paste in a paragraph at a time. We had twenty awards to announce and ten recipients on hand to receive their virtual trophies.

In about 30 minutes we were done and ready to adjourn to the bar. When the last part of my speech was cut and pasted onscreen, I confess I experienced a sense of relief. I had a lot of late nights preparing for this event. Time differences meant that bloggers experimenting with SL showed up at odd hours looking for guidance. I left none of them - knowingly - unsupported.

Exhausted, I left my own party to make something to eat, planning to return. In fact, I fell asleep and didn’t wake until this morning! I hear the party went on for several hours. Several who couldn’t make the awards showed up for the celebrations, notably DK of Devil’s Kitchen

At times in the past weeks, I found myself sharing the views of the cynics. The project sometimes seemed downright stupid. At other times,however, it was great to “chat” with bloggers whose writing I respect. Since they live as far apart as Minnesota, Kazan and Adelaide, how else was that going to happen? It was also amusing to find that many of our most serious bloggers have a suprising sense of fun!

In the end, stupid or not, it worked. I am grateful to everyone who took part - many of whose “avatars” can be seen dancing in the attached - deliciously silly - movie.


With apologies to others equally deserving, let me mention a few names in particular. My thanks firstly to Ruthie. She couldn’t be there on the day but she played a great part in the preparations, single-handedly charming many into familiarising themselves with the quirks of Second Life. Thanks also to Welshcakes and James. Second Life is demanding software and they struggled with the limitations of their equipment. Lesser mortals would have given up, but they were determined to play their parts. I salute them.

From outside Blogpower, Bag of Bag’s Rants deserves special credit for enlivening the proceedings throughout. Bag and Blogpower’s own Ian Grey were quick to discover gimmicks, gestures and unsavoury animations to keep us all laughing at the same time as selflessly helping out the “newbies” they had so recently been themselves. Thanks guys.

A file listing the Second Life names of everyone who attended the event, the after-party or both is also attached for the benefit of the curious. But now, the last of the cartoony pictures uploaded, it’s back to serious blogging for me.  Anyone want to buy some virtual land?

Download guest_list.pdf


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Welshcakes Limoncello

You were a wonderful host, Tom. And thank you a million times for guiding me through it. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I wanted to ask you - is there any little thing I could send you from Sicily as a thank you? Auguri x

The Ego

I was disappointednot to be able to attend due to tech problems with my pc,which is new enough that I should have got in.:(


“what is dial-up?"

hehe. That was me.


Has your switch from politics to Avatars increased your site visits, decreased it or made no change?


Sorry to have missed THE event, thanks to our medical friends I spent hours at Heathrow on Sunday. Hope to be there next year.

Dave Petterson

Tom, It was much much better than I ever thought it would be. I had a good time and the server crash was a minor, almost unnoticable, hiccup in the scheme of things.

I met quite a few bloggers and your SL friends and it made a change communicating in real time. I feel it brought those that participated closer together both in and out of blogpower.

And I would like to thank you for your hospitality before, during and after the event. Plus your time in making everyone at home. It made something that was going to be difficlt easy and enjoyable.


Tom, I know you and James put a lot of hard work into this and it was a shame I was away in Norfolk and had to miss it. But I certainly hope to be there next time.

And I would be delighted if you could join me in Second Life tomorrow for a birthday drink, perhaps around midday UK time?

Ian Grey

It was all great fun and also very odd!

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