The party’s over?

The great stages stand silent and empty and the shifting sands, blown by the desert wind contrive to cover the footprints of the teeming thousands. The sea reclaims its solitude and the candles of the great birthday cake are snuffed out; all around the shouts of roadies and builders mingle with the clash and ringing of prims as the builds are dismantled, or occasionally blown sky-high; and, with a final salutary whistle, the Lotus Train rattles and snorts in billows of steam as it makes its final departure.

Having worked in theatre for a decent chunk of my life, it’s an all too familiar feeling for me… a sense of sorrow, touched with relief that the hard work is almost over. As the scenery is packed away, the stage is swept and tired stage-hands, perched on crates and bundles of cloths, quietly laugh over technical disasters – the sustaining adrenalin, all but drained away, is now replaced by a sense of weary satisfaction in a job well done.

Soon, all that will remain – where once colour and drama, noise and excitement proliferated – will be the endless pixel sea.

Was it all worth the effort? You bet it was!

i took the opportunity last night to wander the SL9B Sims one last time – it was an odd feeling to breeze along roads without lag, cross Sim boundaries without getting stuck and to see a map almost bereft of green dots. i couldn’t help feeling that the place seemed somewhat forlorn and rather sad, even so, i’m glad i went. It was a great opportunity to marvel over the stages, without the clutter of avatars to spoil the view and a chance to crank up the draw distance, play around with Windlight and grab some panoramic shots that i could never have managed before. The place had become almost a second sl home to me for one amazing week and i wanted to commit as much of it to memory as i could.

SL9B has been something of a journey for me – it has turned me from cynic to supporter, changed the glass from one that’s been half empty to one that is half full and it’s taught me some valuable lessons – forcing me to look outwards from my own little bubble and re-appraise my view of sl. It’s also taught me that there’s an enormous wealth of energy, warmth and strength that has the most incredible potential when the sl community works together to do something amazing.

i’ve seen surprising things in the last week or so… not just remarkable and challenging builds but also a real sense of camaraderie, commonality and, of course, community. Bloggers supporting each other’s blogs; volunteers giving more than they were ever asked to; commercial interests putting aside commerce in favour of partying; individuals, groups and businesses freely donating land, time, expertise and talent for the common good and people laughing off problems, working together to overcome difficulties and – remarkably – having a consistently great time.

Above all, SL9B – for me anyway – achieved what it set out to do: to celebrate ‘community’ in Second Life’s ninth year. Actually, it went beyond that – it demonstrated to me that, when we choose to be a community, we are unstoppable and, perhaps most importantly of all, it has made me feel very much a part of that community, in a way that i haven’t really experienced previously. SL9B inspired me to reach out to the virtual community and become part of it in a tangible way – to both give and to receive what was on offer – it was an experience that i chose to grasp with both hands and, although it’s been at times a manic, crazy, exhausting rollercoaster of an experience, one that i don’t regret a moment of  and i’d do it all again tomorrow!

Yes, the celebration may be done, the Sims may be closed and the hullabaloo may have died down, but the party is far from over. The community that inspired, created and brought life to SL9B is the same community that we find and are part of every single time that we log in… so the party’s not over at all – it’s just moved on to a new location!

Have i put my name down for SL10B – you betcha i have!

s. x

You gotta fight, for your right,
to paaaaaaaaaarty
Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right

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