The agony and the ecstasy

You should know by now that I’m a little bit bonkers in SL, and I will confess that occasionally that madness can be replicated in the real world too. Recently that crazy streak has manifested itself unexpectedly and in a manner that means I’m potentially stuck with a permanent(ish) and very ‘in your face’ reminder that sometimes I can, and do, lose the plot completely 🙂

I live in a two-toilet house. There’s absolutely no need for the dual facilities – with only myself around here for the majority of the time, and there being a perfectly serviceable and fully equipped bathroom conveniently situated next to my bedroom, it’s rather superfluous to requirements. It’s not as if I live in a mansion either – I can’t really see any necessity for having a second loo downstairs, although it is – if you’ll excuse the pun – convenient, and it saves the ‘arduous’ journey to the top of the stairs. There’s only one problem: It’s a little bit unloved, and although it really is the smallest room in the house by a long way, it really needed a bit of brightening up.

The question was, what to do to make it less bland and boring, and could I really be bothered to get around to doing anything with it this century?

The answer proved to be surprising straightforward, when a trip to the local DIY store led me past the wallpaper aisle and fate intervened in the form of a roll depicting a variety of Italian landmarks, tastefully arranged and depicted; and inevitably, common sense chose that moment to go for a brisk walk around the block, allowing madness to take over and argue in a most persuasive manner…

Me: Nice wallpaper; very unusual and striking.
Madness: Hey… You have a soft spot for Italy don’t you?
Me: Yeah, but where on earth would I use this – even though it’s lush, it would be way too overpowering in most rooms.
Madness: Hmmm. There’s always the downstairs toilet…

Bugger! Caught off guard by an errant thought!

It was one of those things that, madness having struck, needed to be acted upon immediately, before common sense returned from its walk bringing a couple of mates – rationality and good taste – home for a cuppa and a sobering chat. So, that’s how the smallest room now has vistas of Italianate scenes to occupy the sitter as they contemplate.

However, there was a problem. The lower half of the walls, clad in plain white tiling, is just fine, but the top row is finished by a border of 1980s vintage, flowery half-tiles. They were fairly inoffensive when the rest of the walls were magnolia, but now they’re just garish and horrible. At least they were until I painted them metallic gold! Which brings me to the ceiling… Because plain white is just so, erm… Normal!

There are websites now, I’ve discovered, that will print a design to whatever dimensions you want, and since that particular ceiling is essentially large poster size it was relatively easy to arrange for a made-to-measure version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling – well, anything else would have just looked out of place!

I know. You really don’t need to say a word.

I’m sure that you’ll have your own opinion on my decorative taste – or lack of it – I’m told by friends and family that my usual decorating style is tasteful and accomplished, although it is by no means restrained and I’m more than willing to let my personality be reflected in my surroundings. This is the first time really, in many years of decorating a number of homes that I’ve ever really asked myself ‘Are you serious?’

The trouble with going out on a limb like this is that you could be stuck with the results for some time, so you really want to get it right, otherwise your poor taste could be haunting you for years afterwards. However, sometimes I think that expressing oneself does require being different, individual and maybe a little bit crazy, particularly is we have to conform to other people’s conventions and standards elsewhere in our lives. And if you can’t express yourself in the smallest, most private room of your own house, there’s nowhere you can do it!

Well, almost nowhere… There’s always SL, where it seems that any inhibitions and reservations that we may have about expressing ourselves, in any form, are of little concern. Take a wander around the virtual world and it soon becomes clear that few of us hold back when it comes to stamping our own very individual personal style on our local environment and surroundings. Peer inside the average SL accommodation and you can find yourself in an every so slightly insane mix of the down to earth and perfectly normal side by side with the bizarre, weird and downright crazy. Take, for example, the friend who decided to experiment with the concept of a completely upside-down apartment – rugs and furniture hanging precariously from the ‘ceiling’, whilst light fittings sprouted, like eerie electric flowers, from the ‘floor’. Then there was the odd chap that used to live in the same virtual motel as me, whose apartment was carpeted in foot-high grass – and I’ve seen far stranger expressions of people’s character inworld. Everything from vampire castles to psychedelic gardens, and every one of them an outpouring of the character of their inhabitants, and – almost certainly – only remotely, if at all, resembling that person’s real life surroundings.

The nature and limitless possibilities that SL affords us enables us to explore our character and to paint our virtual world with a palette that is far less constrained than we might use in RL… But, that doesn’t mean we can’t go all out and do the same in the real world too – we just have to have the courage of our convictions and, just maybe, a touch of madness to see it through, and who knows what we can come up with?

If nothing else, as I pause and contemplate, surrounded by the classic architecture and images of the best of Italy, I can smile at the thought that few others can sit on the loo whilst gazing at Michaelangelo Buonarroti’s greatest masterpiece overhead!

s. x

We’re in a world, our very own
Sharing a love that only few have ever known
Andy Williams – Speak Softly Love

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