I may have mentioned at some point in the past my irritation at television programmes that insist on reminding viewers what transpired before the break or in the previous episode. Usually, for a person of average intelligence, such reminders are completely unnecessary, however – as with most rules – there will be the occasional exception. The recap, for example, at the beginning of a new season, when the interval since the last instalment may be several months is excusable, especially if – like myself – you happen to have the habit of unerringly starting to watch something at the start of season three, rather than the more logical beginning of the story. (I do tend to catch up on what I’ve missed, eventually, and yes I’m fully aware that this is a rather bizarre viewing method, but then again, I’m a pretty bizarre person anyway).
There are, however, occasions when a chance to see what has gone before are only too welcome. I’ve recently been working on an inworld Doctor Who project, which has seen me immersed in research that goes right back to the origins of the serial. It’s a subject about which I already had a fair amount of knowledge and I knew, for example, that a number of the original early episodes had been destroyed or lost – quite how many, however, I hadn’t appreciated. Some 97 episodes out of 253 recorded during the show’s first six years are still missing, (although audio recordings of every one have survived), leaving 26 incomplete stories. It’s one of my secret dreams to one day find the remaining missing episodes of ‘The Evil of the Daleks’ or perhaps the coveted final episode of ‘The Tenth Planet’ at a knock-down price at a car boot sale – stranger things have happened, and who knows? Wouldn’t it be great to see something that only a highly privileged and fortunate audience viewed for the first, and perhaps only time, so long ago? One can dream, I suppose.
One of the things I’m often conscious of in SL, is that there is a great deal of the virtual world that I was never party to. Many of the people with whom I spend my time will often talk about places and events that they experienced, way back when SL was just a fledgling world, and the vast majority of those places are either gone from the Grid, or have changed beyond all recognition. All gone: Just memories and the odd image captured, never to be explored, experienced and enjoyed again. Sometimes I think we need some sort of Wayback Machine for SL, where we could just type a date into a search box and experience the Grid as it once was – coming to think of it, if the Lab still has all the log files and assets hidden away on its servers, it shouldn’t be that difficult a task to be able to resurrect at least parts of the Grid from past times – hell, if that feature was ever introduced, even I might be persuaded to go premium, if that was an incentive offered!
Shortly after finishing my Doctor Who project, which included a recreation of Foreman’s Yard in Totters Lane – seen in the very first episode, a friend of mine who happens to be a far more accomplished builder than myself, mentioned that they too had once built the same yard inworld – they sent me a picture, and the similarity to my own build was striking… I must have done something right!
It struck me that there must be many creators, like my friend – and maybe even myself one day, for that matter – who have some of the great builds from the past hidden away in their inventories. The sad part of it is that most of those will never see the light of day again and are doomed to languish forever, fondly remembered but otherwise lost to the virtual world. That’s rather sad, but it’s also one of the home truths about virtual living – like the real world, we have a finite amount of resources to utilise and there’s only so much that we can hang onto if we want to keep creating newer and (sometimes) better creations. So it’s out with the old, and in with the new, and even though it’s rarely ever a case of ‘once it’s gone, it’s gone’ – for all practical purposes, it is. Sitting unseen and unused in an inventory is not a happy fate, but it is, unfortunately a common one.
And, one day, I suppose Seren too will move on and away, and all that will be left will be a string of Hexadecimal, tucked away somewhere in backup copy of a nameless asset server… Never again to see the light of virtual day 😦
And sometimes you close your eyes
And see the place where you used to live
When you were young
The Killers – When You Were Young