THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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The ex-missionary position

A tour of my virtual lands

In the lull after Christmas, I have had chance to spend some time in my virtual domains in Second Life. I know this leaves some readers cold, but I find the whole concept of virtual worlds fascinating. I think they foreshadow the future of the internet. Yes, like the early 'net, they are currently populated by a strange combination of the earnest, the nerdy and the wacko (apart from my very sensible friends, of course) but they will come to be part of our everyday lives in ways as yet unimagined.

LDW at Castle Nanga_001 

My "avatar" at the door of my SL "home", Castle Nanga

For now, they are a space for creativity. For example, an SL friend is currently working on an exhibition of photographs about the history of Second Life. Her subjects are the SL pioneers - those who were there when SL was 16 "sims" (simulators or regions) as opposed to more than 13,000 today. She has had many interesting conversations with these people, some of whom still own well-known clubs and other businesses in-world. One of my own longest running activities in Second Life is my art gallery, which features a private collection of artworks made in SL, as well as providing free exhibition space to my favoured artists. There are also theatre companies, literary circles (I have read at poetry readings, as has JMB of the Nobody Important blog) and even a Bar Association.

Limoncello with Art

The Airship Liner "Limoncello", an art gallery in flight

It has to be said that most activity is less cultured. For many users, it's just a kind of 3D chatroom, with all that entails. Others are using it as a platform for all kinds of roleplaying (RP) games. There is, for example, a thriving community of Doctor Who fans, and several enthusiasts competing to manufacture the best Tardis in SL (where even the chameleon circuit works)


My Tardis, parked neatly on the shuttle deck of the USS Colin Campbell (see below)

I am not particularly adept at building there (though I have my moments). I tend to do the master plan and general design for a project, which is then built by my long-term SL friend and business partner, Abramth Asp (pictured below). Abramth is an SL tech wizard and deals with the problems of the tenants in our 70 virtual apartments and houses. I could not operate on such a scale in SL, given my real life commitments, without him.


Abramth Asp, SL master builder

It's easy and free to join. All you need to do is register for a free account and download the client software. You will only need to buy land and pay land taxes ("tier" in the SL jargon) if you want to build your own stuff. Most of the fun can be had for free and you can always buy some of the local currency if you want to dress your avatar up more elegantly.

Lakeside Tower

One of my two apartment buildings

Sky City_001

My city in the sky above my castle (with "The Lady Ellee" airship moored top left)

Nestor Marina
My marina (where JMB rents her home)
My Japanese-style housing development

If you decide to explore, feel free to send me an instant message there. My avatar's name is LastDitch Writer. If you are a Blogpower member, ask me to invite you to the Blogpower SL group, which has its own "common room" in my "Sky City" complex. These pictures from my own lands in SL should give you some idea of what to expect. You are most welcome to visit anytime.

Finally, here's my latest SL acquisition, an enormous space ship which, following my own tradition, I have named after a Blogpower blogger. Congratulations Colin. Here's the link to follow to visit your namesake.


Uss colin campbell

The USS Colin Campbell, latest addition to my SL star fleet


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Colin Campbell

Ha Ha Grumpy Land of the Haggis Mocker William Gruff.

Perhaps we should render USS Colin Campbell in Campbell Tartan. Do we bring Champagne or a fine whiskey for the launching.

Very honored M'Lud. I did go and have a quick look at my namesake. I reacquainted myself with some of your virtual empire with JMB. Very nice I have to say.

Happy Hogmanay. Enjoy that extra second in 2008.

Andrew Duffin

Someone needs to get out more, I feel.

William Gruff

'I believe, as Einstein did, in "...the holy curiosity of inquiry" which he described as a "delicate little plant" which "aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail." If you are afraid of what people may think, you will soon stop thinking.'

Where in there do you draw the line at children playing with matches?

As for the 'fine martial tradition' of the Scotch: What martial tradition had they before the English taught them how to fight, and bought them the weapons to do so?

You write exceedingly well Tom but you do spout some uninformed tosh.


I see you are a Libertarian Party member, Martin. I should also give you the SLURL to the LPUK offices. They are not on my land, but I manage the rental at the building for its owner (a real life tech company).


The Scots have a fine martial tradition, JMB, so a battleship is a good one to bear Colin's name. When friends think I am a "wacko" for exploring virtual worlds, I remember that the same kind of 2D thinkers mocked my interest in early computers and BBS's. Now they all email and websurf. My generation of lawyers mostly struggle with the technology that surrounds them. I function like colleagues a generation or two younger and I believe it is because I have never lost my sense of play. I believe, as Einstein did, in "...the holy curiosity of inquiry" which he described as a "delicate little plant" which "aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail." If you are afraid of what people may think, you will soon stop thinking.


I think the CC is still a work in progress but the options I was given by the computer were rather warlike. Going into battle soon? I can't believe how addictive SL is so I certainly qualify for wacko as far as my friends are concerned.


And to think that they locked up Engleby.


Sure. Here are the SLURL's in the same order as the pics (you already have one to the space ship). (that's the inside of the Tardis in the picture) (just in front of JMB's house) (a bonus, Stonehenge)


Any chance of getting an SLURL for these places? I wouldn't mind a look myself...

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